From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
In its bid to use agriculture to create wealth and boost employment, the Kogi state government in collaboration with an NGO, the Sunny DeLegend Services Limited, has trained 500 farmers in the state.
The Managing Partner of the NGO, Mrs Joy Amuta, said that the scheme with the theme: “Agriculture Beyond Food and E-commerce Training ” would cut across areas such as agriculture, food, fashion, recycling and real estate.
She added that 1000 farmers have been targeted through value chain with ICT including benefits such as workshop, business plan, loan facilities, off-takers opportunity, partnership and business connection.
According to her, almost everything we are using today has over 90 per cent agriculture as the raw materials either directly or indirectly.
“Many people do not know that with agriculture you can become a millionaire, and that is the reason we are trying to educate, sensitise and train them in that aspect.
“We want people to see agriculture as not just to feed themselves and families, but to take it as a serious business so that they can also earn big money from it.
“We are also partnering with Tehilla Shelter Foundation, Heal4Africa Initiative, SMEDAN and other stakeholders to bring hope to the people and restore to them what they had lost in agriculture.
Amuta commended Kogi Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon Kehinde Oloruntoba, for making the programme a success, saying the farmers are are ready to really engage in mechanised farming.
She noted that the body had mapped out 1000 hectares of land for this wet season, saying the commissioner has promised to facilitate the only challenge which is land clearing.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, commended the organisers for the initiative, saying it was a wonderful project and a way of making the people very rich.
“The Federal and Kogi Government want to make agriculture the main source of income which is the abundant natural resources that God has given us.
He said that Kogi government would establish ‘Agricultural Equipment Lease Centres’ in some strategic areas across the state where farmers could lease farm equipment like tractors at a subsidised rate.
He added: “We have advertised it on national dailies few days ago and in the next 15 days, bidding would be opened.
“We have also completed land mappings few days ago for 4800 farmers with minimum of one hectare each, for proper information and accurate data to eliminate sharp practices”.
One of the participants, Mrs Mary Folorunsho, said she had really learned a lot abput agriculture from the training
Another participant, Clement Ilegoke, said: “I think we are impressed because the loans schemes are well explained and we are all ready to go back to the farm and make the state proud”.