Poised to attract and encourage more young cassava farmers under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, Ogun State Government has prepared 200 hectares of farmland for the prospective beneficiaries.
This is in addition to the 10 hectares demonstration farm located at Ikenne Farm Settlement, Ikenne Local Government Area of the State to further ensure food production, industrialisation and employment.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, in company of the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dotun Sorunke, during an inspection tour to the farmland, said the technology-based demonstration farm, would serve as a training ground for the third batch of Anchor Borrowers’ Cassava beneficiaries and youths who want to venture into the programme.
“You will recall that the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun recently empowered 1,065 young cassava farmers with linkage from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This is one of the locations where these young farmers will be carrying out their business and the State Cassava Revolution Programme has commenced planting of 10-hectare for demonstration mechanically, so that by next week, we will start training the youths in Cassava production enterprise using high technology.
“The practice of Agriculture should be technology-based, and if you want the youths to embrace it, you need to show them the right one. We are citing the demonstration ahead of their arrival to take possession of what the Governor facilitated for them. They are not paying for the land. It is also one of our strategies for bringing development into farm settlements, we also have other agric investors here as well, so if we now have the youths, it will further accelerate development of the settlement”, he disclosed.
Odedina stated that the young cassava farmers would be guided and exposed to training to get good yields, so they can repay their loans, adding that government was making available new agricultural opportunities and supports aside from the provision of land, training and market.
He asserted that the present administration had successfully created more than 5,000 jobs in the cassava sector alone, hence making the Governor’s promise of using agriculture for job creation, good security and industrialisation among others, a reality.
In her submission, the Project Director, Ogun State Cassava Revolution, Mrs Kehinde Jokotoye noted that the era of cutlass and hoe for farming was in the past, saying to woo energetic youths to farming, mechanisation must be encouraged through a model that should be followed.
“We want to make cassava farming very attractive to youths, that is why we are going fully mechanised. So, land clearing, preparation, planting and herbicides application, are all mechanised and we know that this is the kind of operation that youths will like to see and a model to follow”, she said.
Jokotoye expressed optimism that with the expertise used on the demonstration farm, 40 tons of cassava tubers are expected per hectare after harvest.