Plateau Governor Simon Lalong on Tuesday flagged-off the cultivation of 100,000 hectares of dry season rice production under the Fadama Clusters scheme.
Lalong, in a brief speech at the ceremony, said that the 100,000 hectares of land was offered to the farmers under the sustainable plan of action for the improvement of the agricultural sector in the state.
He said that government would continue to mobilise people to go into dry season farming to boost their income all year round.
“We hope to carry out the mobilisation within our financial strength and farm input support limits,” he said.
He promised that his administration would continue to encourage agricultural programmes which the World Bank was supporting, through the National Fadama Development Project.
The governor particularly noted that government had fulfilled its requirements in the payment of counterpart contributions, which is very critical to facilitating the execution of the programmes.
Mr Tayo Adewunmi, National Project Coordinator, Fadama III, in his remarks, said that the Fadama III Additional Financing (Fadama111 AF), was focused on the value chain of crops like rice, sorghum and horticultural crops where Plateau had comparative advantage.
According to Adewunmi, one of the key points in the implementation of Fadama III AF is “doing farming as a business”.
“Instrument of business plan is used in the disbursement of funds to farmers across the crops value chains to ensure the profitability of each value chain crop chosen by the project farmers.
“In the course of implementing Fadama III AF in Plateau, 27 Tomato Production Clusters, made up of 222 groups, were funded through their developed business plans.
“Also funded were 11 Rain-Fed Rice Production Clusters with 222 production groups, with others for dry season which we are flagging off today,” he said.
Adewunmi said that 4,355 farmers were benefiting from the Fadama III-AF in Plateau.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture, who was represented by Mr Aura Apeh, his Senior Technical Adviser, assured Plateau farmers of Federal Government’s special attention to the agricultural sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that farmers were given farm inputs, including water pumping machines, knapsack sprayers, fertilizers and harvesters during the ceremony. (NAN)