Edo Government on Monday flagged off the year 2022 dry season farming by supplying over 516 smallholder farmers with irrigation equipment to boost farming activities in Udo Community, Ovia South West Local Government Area of the state.
The items were distributed under the Nigeria Coronavirus (COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) code named EDO-CARES).
N- CARES is a World Bank-assisted project designed to ameliorate the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on poor and vulnerable people.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Stephen Idehenre, said that the government was encouraging all-year-round farming by empowering farmers with irrigation equipment to boost production.
“Today, over 500 farmers will be empowered with the provision of 171 units of small Irrigation equipment, 139 units will go to Auchi, Etsako West local government and 32 units here at Ovia South West’ adding that the programme had installed rice processing mills with destoners that have the capacity to process three metric tons per day in Iguoriakhi (Ovia South West) and Agbede (Etsako West).
He listed others to include Eme-Ora (Owan west), Illushi (Esan South East), Warake (Owan East) and Oshomegbe community (Etsako Central) thereby empowering over 360 rice processors.
“The cassava processors are not left out as 8HP Cassava processing mills with the hydraulic press have been installed in Ojah community (Akoko Edo), Ewossa (Igueben), Ikhide (Esan North East) and Ogba (Oredo) among others.
“Resulting in the empowerment of 228 beneficiaries and finally 585 smallholder farmers have also been empowered with agricultural inputs across the state.
“The project has rehabilitated six wet markets in Okhokhugbo community in Egor, Ugoneki, Okokhuo community in Ovia North East and Ivbiaro community in Owan East among others,” he said.
Idehenre explained that the project had also rehabilitated a 10-ton capacity cold room in Usen, Ovia South West local government for 40 beneficiaries.
According to him, the project has empowered over 2,200 beneficiaries.
In his welcome address, the state project coordinator, EDO-CARES, Edward Izevbigie, said the project sought to improve livelihood, increase food security and revive SMEs in the state.
Izevbigie said that the beneficiaries were selected from the state social register of the poor and vulnerable, noting that the state government had also put in place programmes in agriculture, agroforestry, fisheries, livestock husbandry and other related small-scale industries that would facilitate production.
“In the state agripreneur programme for 2020 and 2021, 444 hectares were cultivated for rice production in Agenebode, Warrake and Iguoriakhi. The programme also empowered 329 fish farmers to produce over 400,000 catfishes,” he said.
Mrs Glory Orji, a beneficiary, on behalf of other beneficiaries thanked the state government for the gesture and promised to put the irrigation equipment to use.