GOV. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara on Thursday expressed the determination of his administration to promote commercial farming in the state through various agricultural initiatives.
Ahmed made this known in Ilorin while declaring open “Go-Veg Initiative”, a programme organised by Kwara Agro Mall for vegetable farmers in the state.
The governor was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, Alhaji Mahmud Ajeigbe.
He said that the state House of Assembly had recently approved the state’s request to access N1 billion Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme for 2017 farming season.
The scheme, Ahmed said would be implemented through the state’s Off-takers Demand-Driven Agriculture.
The governor said that the scheme would ensure that farmers’ produce were bought by processors and millers under an agreement mutually beneficial to farmers and the off-takers.
“This initiative is to increase farmers’ productivity, income, develop the value chain of our main crops, provide raw materials for our industries, promote food security, and create employment for our teeming youths.
“I urge you all to participate actively in this training workshop in order to acquire the relevant capacity needed to turn your small vegetable farms into income-generating ventures,” he said.
The governor lauded the Mall for organising the programme, saying it was a testimony and justification that intention and investment for establishment of the Agro Mall was noble and reasonable.
Wife of the State Governor, Mrs Omolewa Ahmed, in her remark, urged women to lead in agricultural initiative of the state so as to alleviate level of poverty among the women folks.
Ahmed, represented by Dr Ayinke Saka, the state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, described farmers as providers of nutrients that help human growth.
Earlier, Mr Temitope Amujo, the Coordinator of the Mall, said the programme was designed to improve the standard of living of women and youth farmers and change their mindset from sustenance to commercial farming.
He described vegetable farming as lucrative venture that could fetch farmer foreign earning, saying that it is not capital intensive.
Amujo noted that the programme which is Private-Public sector driven, would also encourage healthy living and improve the living standard of smallholder farmers in the state.
Stakeholders at the programme in their goodwill messages urged youths and women to embrace farming as a way of creating wealth and also to feed the nation.
They described farming as the only sustainable means of livelihood and applauded the organisers for putting up the programme.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the organiser, Kwara Agro Mall provided the participants with farm inputs as gift to improve commercial vegetable farming in the state.