Ekiti State government has reassured farmers of its readiness to facilitate influx of investment opportunities that would better their lots during the administration of Dr Kayode Fayemi.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon Folorunso Olabode gave the assurance at the launch of 2020 Ekiti Wet Season Rice Farming and distribution of inputs to members of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Ado Ekiti.
Hon. Olabode who said that the state government was Clearing 1000 hectares of swampy land for lowland wet season rice farming at a cost of 600 million naira in Ikoro Ekiti, disclosed that the administration has agreed to implement donor agricultural assisted projects such as the Islamic Bank supported Expansion phase of NPFS and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) supported Smallholders Horticultural and Expansion Project (SHEP), aimed at making farming a lucrative venture for practitioners.
He highlighted further that Dr Kayode Fayemi government was also committed to making all farm roads in the state motorable through the
Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), with the construction of 1000km rural roads to be financed by the World Bank.
According to the Commissioner, the numerous support of government to various farmers groups in the recent times were a commitment to the course of uplifting agriculture emancipation and raise the fortunes of
farmers and agricultural practitioners in the state.
While calling on members of RIFAN to intensify efforts to increase their yields and improve on their performance to encourage the service
providers to invest in their activities, Olabode appealed to them to make productive use of the various inputs distributed to them for maximum production.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of RIFAN in the state, Mr Rotimi Kolawole said that Ekiti state had been in the forefront of rice production in Nigeria despite the numerous challenges facing rice production.
Mr Kolawole who traced the history of wet season rice planting in the state back to 2017, stressed that the project has made rice farmers to be comfortable and more productive.
While pleading for the release of more land for lowland rice cultivation, the Chairman called on government to assist in the control of flood, which has been a major impediment to wet season rice cultivation as well as providing irrigation facilities for all year round rice farming.
He appreciated the federal and state governments for instituting and facilitating the anchor borrowers program through which RIFAN could access funds to execute its programmes.
Speaking at the programme, the Desk Officer of the Ado Ekiti branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Kola Oyedokun disclosed that one of the apex bank’s mandate was to strengthen the nation’s economy by supporting local food production and ensure increased tree crops cultivation.
He said that CBN was currently supporting five crops as Agricultural focal points which include rice, maize, cassava and other grains in the state, adding that cocoa, oil palm and others would be included in due course.
While appealing to RIFAN members to encourage more people into the scheme, Mr Oyedokun said that the programme could still accommodate more participants than the 1300 beneficiaries, with an advice not to see the support as their own share of the national cake.
The occasion also marked the distribution of seed, spray pump and herbicides to benefiting farmers.
Other service providers present at the launch are the Bank of Agriculture, Unity Bank, and Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation.