Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state government will in the coming weeks sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Leventis Foundation to fast-track the development of the 13,500 hectares Weppa Farm, Agenebode, in Etsako East Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Obaseki disclosed this at the foundation- laying/groundbreaking ceremony of the Leventis Foundation’s Agricultural Management Training Institute, Weppawanno, to be sited at the farm, in Agenebode.
The governor said he was delighted that private interests, such as the Leventis Foundation are aligning with his vision to reposition the state as a thriving industrial hub and setting up institutions to deepen the penetration of his policies.
According to him, “I know that you have only developed 50 per cent of this farm. I want to implore and inform you that the Edo State Government is willing to collaborate with you for the rapid development of this facility. To this end, in the next two weeks we will like to sign an MoU with the Leventis Foundation to co-invest in the farm.”
He said the state will work with the foundation to train and provide support for Agripreneurs in the state to guarantee a market for their produce as well as technical support for agricultural development. We want to ensure that our people do not only get trained but have access to the required support to set up, operate and create wealth from their farms.”
“The establishment of the Agricultural Management Training Institute could not have come at a better time. As a state government we have decided to take action and recreate our tertiary institutions to ensure they do what they were set up to do. In particular, we have shut down our colleges of agriculture in Iguoriakhi, Agenebode and Irrua. This is so that we can restructure and reposition them. The idea is to train dependable, dynamic and competent middle level manpower in the agricultural industry.
We want to thank the management of the facility for the assistance they have rendered to us as we strive to reposition our schools of agriculture. In the meantime, we have decided to spread the students in our schools to various agricultural enterprises in Edo State such as Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc, Presco Plc, Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria and the Leventis Farm.”
Chairman, Leventis Foundation, Alhaji Ahmed Mantey, said that the state government has been a worthy ally in the development of Weppa Farm, noting that this spurred the management to contribute to the economic development of the state.
According to him, “Our aim with the Leventis Foundation Agricultural Management Institute is to fast-track the development of young agricultural specialists to become the commercial farm managers of tomorrow.
“The course will be run on a one-year residency basis and will comprise both practical and academic elements. Weppa Farm is a mixed farm with arable, tree crops, livestock and processing activities and by siting the institute on the farm, students will have the opportunity to gain full exposure to modern mixed commercial farming.”