Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has stressed the need for Nigeria to be self- reliance in food production, as this would not only ensure availability of food to its citizens at all times but also guarantee overall national security.
Governor Abiodun stated this at the flag- off of the 2020 season and distribution of inputs to the first batch of Cassava Value Chain Beneficiaries, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, at the Farmers’ Market, Asero, Abeokuta.
The Governor noted that the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to nations closing their borders, necessitated the need for Nigerians to be self reliance in food productivity by growing what they eat to guarantee food and national security.
“I am sure we are all now aware of the importance an relation of food production, not only food security, but the overall security of the nation in general and our dear State in particular”, he said.
Prince Abiodun maintained that his administration has taken steps to ensure smooth operation of agricultural activities, despite the lockdown restriction, by allowing and providing support for food production, adding that, as part of the State’ COVID-19 induced food challenge, it has modified road-plan for agriculture this year, by including residential training of additional 5,000 youths in all the Local Government Areas.
The Governor, who expressed delight with the progress made by the Anchor Borrowers’, which he noted has continue to receive huge acceptance from major stakeholders, said the programme had so far recorded 27,000 registration, the highest in the country, thus indicating the ability to use agriculture and cassava crop as a means of providing jobs for the youth.
“3,500 Anchor Borrower Programme Nominees in the State have been provided with funds and linked with agricultural inputs and fields ready for tiling and planting an improved Diseased Resistance Cassava.
“60,000 registrations have been recorded for seven crops and cassava recorded 25,000 applications. 2,497 farmers accredited with N500m in March 2020, by CBN, while additional payment of over
N180m was accredited to additional 900 farmers in April, 2020″, the Governor explained.
He revealed that the State government, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the National Cassava Grower Association, had put in place a technology driven mechanism, to checkmate sales and diversion of inputs.
Governor Abiodun stated further that, each of the 2,500 youths, who had registered for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme would be linked to additional
N530m and given 60 bundles of improved cassava stems, four bags of fertilizer and weed killers, while additional 2,500 hectares of land cleared in 16 locations of the agricultural zones, would be allocated to them.
He said his administration would continue to encourage investors, who would want to take advantage of the State’s abundant resources and geographical location to partner in achieving its mandates and goals by providing support for food production, processing, value added and product development activities.
In his remark, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, noted that the State was currently running the biggest Anchor Borrowers Programme in Cassava in the whole of Africa, saying that the programme which was an exemplary one was anchored on mechanical planting system.
“We are running the biggest Anchor Borrowers Programme in Cassava in the whole of Africa. 27,000 farmers had applied for opportunities in cassava out of the 60,000 beneficiaries, this is the biggest Anchor Borrowers Programme in this continent, the Ogun State Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is exemplary”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mrs. Beatrice Akanbo, appreciated the State government for the gesture, noting that it would go a long way in contributing their quotas towards making the state sufficient in food production.