Kogi to empower 100,000 through Agriculture

The Kogi  State government has said that it will empower over 100,000 persons through engagement in Accelerated Agricultural Production in various crops value chains in 2018.

State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba disclosed on Wednesday  during his ministerial press briefing organised by the Bureau of Information Services,  and Grassroots Sensitisation in collaboration with the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Lokoja.

Oloruntoba who reeled out various initiatives of the state government in the agricultural sector said  they were aimed at  attaining the food sufficiency, economic diversification and Agribusiness policy direction of the Federal Government.

“Over 100,000 youths are to be fully engaged in various aspects of agriculture. It is against this backdrop that the sectoral allocation to Agriculture in this year’s budget was increased to N9 billion from N7.9 billion in 2017.

He said that as part of the Federal Government’s Egg Production programme and in view of the National School Feeding Programme in the state, 135 farmers would be supported with N4.2 million each to start poultry farms.

“We want to produce our eggs and chickens here. We  are starting the national school feeding soon”, he said.

The Commissioner said the state intended to improve on the production of cassava, rice and cashew in the 2018 planting season.

He said that about 4,200 hectares of land comprising 200 hectares in each of the 21 Local Government Areas of the state had been earmarked for the production and enhancement of Cassava crop value chain.

He added that Alloma Oil Palm plantation would be rehabilitated and expanded with over 1,000 hectares of available land.

Oloruntoba disclosed that Kogi would also launch its Confluence Fish in the next six months saying that the fish would be grown and packaged in Kogi State for the Nigerian market.

According to him, about 1,000 youths would be engaged as fish farmers,  adding that the project would run at pilot level with 2,500 fingerlings per pond and would be located in one Local Government in each of the three senatorial districts of the state.

Oloruntoba said the state had also commenced the process of domesticating the Federal Government’s Agriculture Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy (ASFSN) in a bid to fast-track Nutrition-sensitive agricultural practice.

Another 1,000 youths, he added, would be empowered to create vegetable farms which would serve as a hub vegetable markets.

Earlier, the Director-General of the State Bureau of Information Services and Grassroots Sensitization, Mr Abdulkarim Abdulmalik said the briefing was aimed keeping the public abreast of the activities of government. 

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