Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki has said the goal of his administration in the next two years is to ensure that farmers in the state cultivate a minimum of 250,000 hectares of farmland.
Obaseki said this on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at the 13th Esan Economic Empowerment Workshop, with the theme: ‘Modernising Agri-business in Esan Land for economic empowerment,’ organised by the Association of Esan Professionals.
The governor noted that agriculture is at the centre of the economic reconstruction programme of both the Federal Government and Edo state government, due to the sector’s potential to create millions of jobs.
“This initiative is in line with my administration’s commitment to create 200,000 jobs for Edo people, which we promised during our electioneering campaign,” and added that agriculture is being embraced in the state due to the incentives his administration is providing to make access to land, fertiliser and other inputs easy for farmers.
The governor further said that his administration has revamped the Edo fertiliser plant in Auchi to enable farmers have same type of fertiliser after proper examination of the soil to ensure healthy crop production.
“We have equally revamped the College of Agriculture in the state to train our farmers and help them with the required knowledge to grow healthy agricultural products for export,” he said and added that the Gelegele Sea Port is another important project that will help in the export of finished agricultural products.
Obaseki also urged the youths to embrace agriculture as his administration is creating the enabling environment for large scale farming, easy access to land and improved seedlings.
According to him, “Agriculture is now scientifically done and mechanisation will help us compete in the international agricultural market.”
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, who was at the workshop congratulated the organisers and pledged the support of the federal government for their programme.
The Minister who was represented by the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Edo State office, Omoragbon Wellington, assured that the federal government would support the group in the area of capacity building and supply of processing machines at subsidised rate.
The president of the Association of Esan Professionals, Mathew Egbadon, said the association was established to serve as a non- political platform for Esan people to contribute their quota to the development of Esan land.
He said the association has established Esan Education Trust Fund to assist indigent students in accessing quality education, and added that
they focused on agriculture because Esan people have comparative advantage in the sector with the vast land available for farming.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of a cash gift of N500, 000 to three schools for coming tops in a quiz competition organised to test their proficiency in Esan language in line with the state government’s resolve to promote Edo culture.