No fewer than 30,000 farmers in Delta state will benefit from the Federal Government’s Anchor Programme on Agriculture.
Chief Austin Chikezie, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba, on Sunday that the registered 30,000 farmers were taking steps to meet the requirements for the programme.
The commissioner said that the ministry, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) have concluded the verification of first batch of the beneficiaries.
“We have registered the farmers and finished with the first verification exercise being conducted by CBN, Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Ministry of Agriculture.
“They are now at the stage of opening accounts with the BOA and after that, they will be given their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) and trained for two weeks.
“The state government is very committed to ensuring the success of the programme by sponsoring the verification exercise. It will also sponsor the training of farmer,” he said.
He lauded the federal government for the programme, but noted that it was coming behind the planting season.
The commissioner however said the farmers would plant crops that could thrive this period.
“So, as soon as we are ready to take off, we will look at those crops that we can grow now.
“We are considering four areas – cassava planting, rice cultivation, oil palm plantation and fisheries – in which we have a comparative advantage,” he said.
Chikezie said that the crops would grow well in the state this period.
He said that the ministry has acquired over 1000 hectares of land for rice cultivation in Ebu, Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state.
“We have mobilized farmers into forming cooperative societies and they have received approval for the supply of two mini rice mills in Obior and Agbarho to boost rice production.
“The ministry is also raising about 220,000 oil palm seedlings to be distributed to farmers in the 2017 planting season.
“The state government is building two new fish clusters each with 40 fishing ponds in Mbiri and Ewulu communities.
“The farmers will be assisted to raise the fishes from fingerling to maturity,” he said.
The commissioner added that the ministry had organised capacity building for 120 poultry famers and distributed improved varieties of cassava cuttings to over 300 farmers across the state.
He said the state government was partnering with research institutes to introduce the 419 cassava variety to farmers in the state during the 2017 planting season.
The commissioner said that the specie had high yield and starch content.
He assured that farmers in the state had ready markets for their produce, adding that they had also been linked to processors to avoid post harvest loses. (NAN)