FG assures Edo farmers continued support to increase food production

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From Moshood Olawale Karim

The Federal Government through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Umakhire, has pledged continued support to farmers in Edo State to increase food production. He made the pledge during an investiture ceremony held in his honor on Saturday, 9th December 2023, in Benin City.

Dr. Umakhire emphasized that several farming projects have been carried out to support farmers in Edo State. These interventions include rural road construction, street lighting, empowerment for farmers and youths (especially women and youth farming), and bringing facilities to research, such as the agricultural research institute in the State, Rubber Research, and the NIFOR.

The Permanent Secretary also laid emphasis on the need for the state to upscale agricultural production. He believes that doing so will revolutionize agriculture, create employment, grow the economy, and eradicate poverty.

According to him interventions such as “rural road construction, street lighting, empowerment for farmers and youths, especially women and youth farming. And of course, we have also brought some facilities to our research, agricultural research institute in the State, Rubber Research and the NIFOR.
“But in a wider perspective, I believe that we can do more in the agricultural sector to upscale agricultural production in the State. And of course, that will revolutionize agriculture, create employment, grow the economy, and of course, eradicate poverty”

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He charged the farmers to look into irrigation farming as this will help increase their yearly food production.
He mentioned that farming can be done all year round with irrigation facilities. He also pointed out that the northern people farm all year round, twelve months of the year, with the help of irrigation.
“As far as, am concerned. I have mentioned it before; farming can be done all year round. All you need is irrigation facility. The northern people farm all year round, twelve months of the year. The land is there… All that is required is water. And once you provide that water, every crop would do well. So all year round farming will give you all the harvest you need.”

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When asked how farming can be used to empower youths, Dr. Umakhire said that the youths can be encouraged to go into farming activities using mechanized farming by providing tractors and other farm machinery and equipment. He believes that if they can see the machinery working for them, youths will be more inclined to go into farming, and more people will take up farming.

Earlier, the Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Edo State Chapter, HRH. Alhaji Bako Dogwo, commended the Permanent Secretary for his exceptional leadership, strong commitment, and dedication to fighting hunger in Nigeria through programs and policy innovations.
Dogwo stated that these efforts have led to increased food production and reduced food importation. The Association later conferred on him the Grand Patron and Great Achievers Award.

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The Federal Government’s commitment to supporting farmers in Edo State is commendable. The interventions put in place to support farmers and increase food production are necessary steps towards ensuring food security in the country. The use of irrigation farming and mechanized farming can help increase food production and empower the youths to take up farming. The recognition by the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) is a testament to the Permanent Secretary’s dedication to the growth of the agricultural sector.

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