Delta State Government has reiterated its commitment to partner with commodity associations, CBN and to support credible Deltans who want to go into farming.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Julius Egbedi, stated this during the commissioning of the second phase of planting by the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketer’s Association of Nigeria (MAGPANMAN), at Aghalokpe in Okpe Local Government Area, Delta State.
According to Hon Egbedi, “As a State we are ready to partner with every commodity association and team up with CBN to open up forest for use, we have credible people who want to go into farming, we will support them.”
“We are ready to support farmers in the State because if the farmers are doing well, it is a credit to the State and the State Government. Government will not come and farm, it is the people and it is the farmers that are the litmus test for the government to know whether the government is working.”
Hon. Egbedi who was amazed at the expanse of dry land used for maize planting and the freshness of the crop said, “With what I am seeing here today, Delta State can actually produce maize for our teaming poultry industry.”
“I used to pass here to Abraka and Asaba and I had thought that this vast land, nothing would grow on it, but today we are seeing a different thing. I am shocked because in this dry season, we are seeing green land here.”
He explained that the State Government had entered into a venture with CBN and had open up forest land for Cassava Growers Association at Ugbakele in Ethiope West Local Government Area where over 1,500 hectares of land was use for cassava planting.
The agriculture commissioner who revealed that the Ministry recently acquired 20 tractors to ease the rigor of clearing farm lands, stated that the tractors are given out to all farmers irrespective of where they were at a subsidize rate and urged MAGPANMAN to make it request, even maize planter for use.
He also stated that the State Tractor Hire Agency has 10 tractors to its credit which weare also hired out to farmers at a subsidize rate, saying that these tractors were distributed across the state – two in Agbor, one each in Agbarho, Oghara, Patani and Kwale and the rest at the Delta State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (DARDA), Ibusa.
Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman, Maize Growers, Processors and Marketer’s Association of Nigeria (MAGPANMAN), Dr Oghenesuvwe Okpara, said that what was witnessed was a blatant proof against popular perception stating that maize can neither be grown or farm neither commercial quantity nor irrigation system be practice in the South.
Dr Okpara revealed that over 200 hectares of land was used for the dry season maize farming using irrigation system.
He stated that there were still available spaces yet to be planted due to some challenges which range from lack of tractors, pumping machines, additional bore holes, warehouse, threshers and dryers, saying that if these were provided it would lead to the farm success as well as having a great impact on other communities with large expanse of land.
Dr Okpara who is a specialist in Animal Nutrition Production Practical stated that there were 1,000 hectares of land at Aviara; 350 hectares at Edo-Ogwashi; 1,000 hectares at Ebu and many others with valid document waiting to be cultivated.