The Edo State Government has called for off-takers of maize, cassava and rice harvest from farmers under its Agripreneur project in the coming planting season.
In a statement in Benin City, the Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Programme, Hon. Prince Joe Okojie, said the state government is committed to linking off-takers to farmers to reduce post-harvest losses and guarantee investments in agriculture in the state.
The state government initiated the agripreneur programme to engage youths in agribusiness, provided them with land, assisted in farm management and facilitated access to high-yielding crop varieties and other inputs. The programme was piloted in 2017 with some of the farmers located at the Sobe Farm settlement.
According to Okojie, “The off-takers would mop up the harvest from the farms, and we can assure that the produce would be of the best quality because we are working with experts to train the farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and also supply the best of inputs to ensure that the produce meet standards.
“This is also another avenue for the state governor to ensure that the youths going into agriculture are assured of buyers and aggregators for their produce, so that they are motivated to stay on the farms and are assured of returns from their investment.”
The Agripreneur Project is part of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Accelerated Agriculture Initiatives, through which 5,000 hectares of farmland would be cultivated. About 1,000 hectares was cultivated last year which provided employment for 200 youths in the state. Over 2,000 hectares of land have been cleared, much of which will be included in the agripreneur programme this year.