Edo State Govt assures farmers’ coop of support
The Godwin Obaseki led State Government has assured of its continued support to a group of farmers under the aegis of Edo State Co – operative Farmers Agency (EDSCFA).
This is in its effort to exploiting the many opportunities that exist in the agricultural sector to fulfill its electioneering promise of creating 200,000 jobs for the people.
Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Co – operative, and Employment, Emmanuel Usoh gave the assurance when the group paid him a courtesy visit recently.
The Commissioner giving the assurance said one major issue government must accomplish in a bid to filling minimum 200,000 jobs spaces in the State was to lap in and form linkages with the EDSCFA on agricultural issues.
Commending the group for its effort in the growth of agriculture in the State, the Commissioner noted the wide mileage it has covered so far patterning to creation of linkages and partnership with various development bodies.
This is as he expressed gladness that the group is concerned and pursuing and putting in place an agricultural policy for the State.
He noted, that it was in line with the working of the Obaseki administration to develop an agricultural policy for the State saying it would soon come on stream.
Usoh observed that EDSCFA has already covered a large area of operation and the State Government now only need to help facilitate and increase its margin of achievements going into the future.
Reiterating the assurance of continued government partnership with the group he said it should feel free always to reach out to the Ministry to be able to deal with all the issues that relates to its operation.
For the five percent minimum budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector the group seeks from the State Government, the Commissioner said;
“I also promise you that as a member of the EXCO, once the budget is discussed, we will see how we can lend our voice to the issue knowing full well that the Governor is really keen to dealing with issues relating to agriculture.”
Earlier in his speech, President of the Group, comrade Amayo Nosa Confidence intimated the Commissioner with its activities, mode of operation, targets, and membership strength which he said is 908 across the 18 local Government Area of the State.
Amayo asserts that majority of members of the group are graduates of various tertiary institution who have embraced farming for sustenance.
“As our supervisory and advisory Ministry, it is important we visit you to intimate you on the various activities and programmes we are involved in as regards our quest of meeting up with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal; No poverty, Zero hunger.
Hence the group is in partnership with several donor agencies; Partnership Initiative in the Niger – Delta (PIND); United States Agency for International Development, under maximizing revenue for key targeted States; Market Development, a product of the Department for International Development (DFID, U.K) engaged the services of Life and Peace Development Organization (LPDO) in the training of its members.
In 2016, the group also partnered with the Edo State Information Technology Centre in gathering data of cassava farmers among the members.
This is as it has participated in several agricultural conferences both at home and abroad towards acquisition of knowledge in improved innovation and technology of farming, Amayo said.
Further, he said the group in partnership with the USAID under the Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (USAID – SACE), engaged a consultant to do a research on the true position of agriculture in Edo State.
The outcome reveals non –n availability of agriculture policy in the State, poor budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector, and poor implementation of the low budgetary allocation.
On the strength of the research findings, the group listed four point demands from the State Government; (a.) Putting in place agricultural policy (b). Increase in budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector to at least five percent of its total budget based on the Maputo declaration of 2013, and its ratification in Malabo in 2014 which states a mandatory 10 percent budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector.
Amayo asserts that the group collaborative effort is already yielding positive result as the Ministry of agriculture and Natural Resources has set up an agricultural policy draft committee, working to actualize the dream.
Soliciting support of the Commissioner for the group, Amayo highlighted benefits that will be derived from existence of agriculture policy in the State.
“It will lead to sustainable adaptation of the entire value chain process that will enhance productivity of farmers’ farm produce for increased income generation that will lead to inclusive growth for all in Edo State.”
Amayo expressed the belief that so much value could be derived from the group partnership with the Ministry under the leadership of Usoh as commissioner through a robust working relationship.