The Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Olabide Adetoyi, said on Tuesday that farm inputs worth over N820m had been distributed to 3,102 rice farmers in the state under the Central Bank of Nigeria/Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Adetoyi, who disclosed this at Aisegba Ekiti in the Gbonyin Council Area of the state during an inspection tour of farms in the area, said the development was the fulfilment of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s promise to boost food security and make the state a leader in rice production in the country.
“Each of the benefitting farmers paid a counterpart fund of N21,000 and was allocated one hectare of land in a cluster and as well given inputs such as rice seed, pre- and post-emergence chemicals, rice selective herbicides, organic and inorganic fertilisers, pesticides, knapsack sprayers and water pumping machines all at a cost of N264,400 only,” he said.
He advised farmers interested in participating in the government’s agricultural scheme to register with the state’s Ministry of Agriculture to benefit from various opportunities created by the Fayemi administration.
He said, “The present government in the state has also raised hybrid cocoa and cashew seedlings for free distribution to farmers. In addition, lot have been done to develop maize and cassava value chain.
“The ongoing construction of 1,000 kilometre roads across the state was embarked upon to ease transportation and boost commercial activities.”
The State Coordinator of the project and Director, JMK Rice Mill, Ado-Ekiti, Mr Lanre Sholaja, said the farm produce would be taken from the farmers after harvest for proper valuation, adding that the cost of inputs would then be deducted from the valued sums while the balance would be paid to respective farmers as their profits.
Sholaja noted that the scheme had reawakened the consciousness of Ekiti farmers in the production of rice in commercial quantities, adding that Fayemi had succeeded in boosting food production and creating job opportunities for youths in the state.
The President of the agriculture arm of Aanuoluwapo Cooperative Multipurpose Union, Aisegba Ekiti, Elder Sunday Olajolumo, who lauded the gesture, said the benefiting farmers would judiciously utilise the opportunity.