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Improvement of food production in Kogi State

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By Mercy Kelani

Yahaya Bello administration focused on achieving food security.

Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello declared that his interest in agriculture has significantly impacted the production of food in Kogi State. He stated that revamping the local economy, protecting lives, and achieving food security are the areas of his priority. Bello also declared his interest in the political will to unify the residents of Kogi State as one. This is to assure the security of lives and properties, including those that want to work locally. He stated this during his meeting with the Chinese on their investment in the state.

There was productive engagement of the Governor within the state during his time in office. There is availability of natural resources, including donation of seedlings and the provision of agricultural equipment and other beneficiary services that are required for the development of farmers and the ministry. He implored the inhabitants to take judicious use of arable lands that are available to farmers, which will further promote the exportation of quality cash crops such as sesame seeds, cassava, rice and cashews.

It is one of the best rice-producing states in the country.

He asserted that hard work will make a lot of improvements in the food production of the country in the agricultural sector. Governor Bello announced a state of emergency in 2016 on agriculture sector, which then led to the development of 50-ton per day rice mill in Ejiba in Yagba West Local Government Area. This system made the state one of the best rice-producing states in the country. More than 800 hectares of farm have been cultivated for provision of paddy for the mill. The government also rendered assistance to the improvement of cassava production.

Five cassava processing mills have been established to work for the cassava farmlands in areas like Aiyetoro-Gbede in Ijumu, Ageva/Achoze in Okene, Osara in Adavi and Ogbadu in Dekina Local Government Areas. There was an instant rehabilitation and commencement of Juveniles production in a hatchery in Aiyetoro-Gbede in Ijumu Local Government. In addition, there was an establishment of Four Fish Feed Mills at Adavi-Eba, Ejiba, Idah and Geregu. There was also collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development/Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD/VCD) and the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS).

Funds was provided for procurement of liquid fertilizers.

1000 power tillers were distributed by Bello to women farmers in 21 LGAs. Funds has also been approved by Bello’s administration for procurement of liquid fertilizers, knapsack snacks, seedlings, herbicides, seeds, chemicals and agricultural inputs for farmers at a subsidized rate, with the repair of five abandoned excavator, low bed and bulldozers. 13,000 farmers were enrolled, while the local government partnered with 4,955 farmers in the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN). There was also funds released by the government to engage a consultant to conduct: Study, Design, Production of Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME).

David Apeh, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, stated that food security has been ensured by the governor through the provision of development funds for all World Bank-assisted projects, increased crop production and its value chain, purchase of 40 tractors, and establishment of rice mill at Ejiba. There was vaccination of 60,000 cattle by the ministry against La Peste de Pestit Ruminants (PPR) and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (C.B.P.P) in the state. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Government with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to establish a Sugarcane Plantation and Bio-fuel factory at the Alape Staple Crops Processing Zone.

Establishment of FADAMA to curb the effects of COVID-19.

Furthermore, 1,700 women and youths have been empowered, by the World Bank-Assisted Project ‘Agro Processing and Productivity Enhancement Livelihood Scheme’ (APPEALS), in poultry and fish production, cashew production, and cassava and rice production. According to the commissioner, Agro Processing Centres have been constructed by APPEALS to help 2,000 farmers on rice, cassava and cashew production. The establishment of Kogi CARES (FADAMA) was to curb the consequences of COVID-19 in sectors of poultry, cassava and rice production. Also, programmes under IFAD-VCDP has benefited about 6000 farmers. Abdulkareem Siyaka, Special Adviser to Kogi State Governor on Economy, Finance and Investment stated that the state plans to meet N591.6 billion IGR target in 2023.

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