No fewer than 21,000 farmers in Ogun received free agro-inputs under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (OGUN-CARES FADAMA RA2) project on Saturday in Aiyetoro.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, presented the incentives to beneficiaries in the Yewa North Local Government Secretariat, in Aiyetoro.
The NewsZenith reports that the project, a state and federal government initiative in collaboration with the World Bank, is directed to assist farmers in six local government areas of Ogun.
The local government areas include; Ijebu North and Odogbolu (Ogun East), Odeda and Obafemi Owode (Ogun Central), as well as Yewa North and Ado-Odo/Ota (Ogun West).
Odedina, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Dotun Sorunke, reiterated the importance of the OGUN CARES programme in fulfilment of one of the cardinal points of the present administration in ensuring food security.
The commissioner said that the distribution exercise had started in Ado-Odo/Ota and Ijebu-North Local Government Secretariats in Ota and Ijebu-Igbo respectively.
He explained that the beneficiaries were given three weaners (pigs), three sheep and goats, two bags of 50kg fertilisers and herbicides and garri processing equipment and rice processing equipment among others.
“Today, our farmers have seen that this project is real. It is aimed at supporting a little below 21,000 farmers across the state.
“Many farmers lost their means of livelihood to COVID-19, but with adequate utilisation of these inputs, within six months to one year, your farming businesses will bounce back because the agro-inputs will surely boost your farming and these animals will reproduce massively”, he said.
In her welcome address, the Project Manager, Ogun-Cares Fadama RA2, Mrs Solape Awe, applauded Gov. Dapo Abiodun for supporting the Federal Government and the World Bank in the implementation of the project.
Awe said that the aim of the project was to empower pro-poor and vulnerable farmers as well as those in the agricultural value chain with emphasis on youths and women who were adversely affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
She noted that “Ogun Cares” is a multi-sectorial programme and the agricultural aspect is being implemented by the FADAMA platform, in four Delivery Link Indicators (DLIs), which are, agricultural inputs and services, labour-intensive agricultural infrastructure.
Others are agricultural assets for production and mitigating food loss and waste, as well as upgrading wet markets to function safely to empower 20,922 farmers in all the local government areas of the state within two years.
In his remark, the Chairman, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government, Mr Sheriff Musa, lauded the effort of the government for kick-starting the input distribution in the area to alleviate the plight of farmers.
According to him, Ota is in a vantage position over others, based on its large urban and agrarian population, large arable land for agriculture, as well as being the industrial hub of the state.
Also, Mr Gabriel Ogunyomi, Chairman of Yewa North Local Government, lauded the consideration for women and youths in the project.
He charged the farmers to make the best use of the inputs and assets to better their lives and improve the economy of the state.
Mr Titus Lasilo from Ado-Odo/Ota Farmers Community Association and Mrs Monsurat Omoniyi from Agbejere Farmers’ Association, Joga Orile, two of the beneficiaries, expressed happiness at the initiative.
The beneficiaries said that inputs would turn their lots around and they promised to utilise the inputs judiciously.