The Edo Government is targeting a minimum of 250,000 hectares of land for cultivation to boost agricultural production within the next two years.
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo disclosed this at the 13th Esan Economic Empowerment Workshop organised by the Association of Esan Professionals at Uromi, Esan North East Local government area of the state on Saturday.
The workshop was tagged: “Modernising Agri-business in Esan land for Economic Empowerment”.
The governor said that massive investment in agriculture was necessary to improve food security, create jobs as well as boost economic activities in the state.
According to the governor, investment in agriculture is in line with his administration’s focus in fulfilling my electioneering promises of creating 200,000 jobs for Edo people.
“The importance of embracing agriculture as an administration via focusing on food security, large scale farming, and access to land, information and improved seedlings cannot be over emphasized .
“Agriculture is now scientific and mechanisation will help us compete in the agricultural market,” he said.
The governor said his administration has revamped the Edo fertiliser blending plant in Auchi to improve farmers’ access to fertiliser as well as the Colleges of Agriculture in the state to train manpower for the sector.
Obaseki added that Gelegele sea port was another important project in the life of his administration that when completed would help in the exportation of agricultural finished products.
Also, speaking the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said the workshop was apt and pledged the support of the Federal Government to ensure success of the programme.
The Minister, who was represented by the State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Edo Office, Mr Omoragbon Wellington, said the Federal Government would support the group with capacity building and supply of processing machines at subsidised rate.
In his remarks, the president of the Association, Mr Mathew Egbadon said the association was a non-governmental organisation with the sole objective of providing platform for the Esan people to contribute their quota to the development of the Esan land.
Egbadon said the body was concentrating on strengthening the agriculture potentials of Esan land due to its vast expanse of land available for agricultural production.
He added that the body has launched a two year well researched documentary on Esan culture covering the entire kingdom in Esan land and was working on establishing a radio station that will broadcast in Esan language.
Other event at the occasion was Gov. Obaseki’s presentation of a cash gift of N500,000 to be shared among the top three schools that emerged best in the quiz competition organised by the association to test their proficiency in Esan language.