The Ogun government on Friday said that it has established 200 hectares of cassava farm for youth farmers in the third batch of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
Dr Adeola Odedina, the Commissioner for Agriculture, said this during an inspection tour to the farmland at Ikenne in Ogun.
Odedina said that the establishment of the farmland was to attract and encourage young cassava farmers under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and enhance employment, food production and industrialisation in the state.
“Government has commenced the 200-hectare farming for the youths, with another 10-hectare demonstration farm at the Ikenne Farm Settlement, in Ikenne Local Government Area of the state.
“The technology-based demonstration farm will serve as a training ground for the beneficiaries of the state’s third batch Anchor Borrowers’ Cassava farmers and youths, who want to invest in cassava farming, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
“You will recall that Gov. Dapo Abiodun recently empowered 1,065 young cassava farmers with linkage from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“This is one of the locations where these young farmers will be carrying out their business,” he said.
Odedina noted that the state’s Cassava Revolution Programme had commenced crop planting on the 10-hectare demonstration farm mechanically.
He stated that by November, training would commence, and the youths would be trained on cassava production enterprise, using high technology.
“Agriculture is technology-based and you want the youths to embrace agricultural technology; you need to show them the right one.
“We are staging the demonstration ahead of their arrival, to take possession of what the governor facilitated for them.
“The youths are not paying for the land; it is also one of our strategies of bringing development into the farm settlements.
“We also have other agricultural investors here as well; so, if we now have the youths, it will further accelerate the development of the settlements,” he said.
Odedina said that the young cassava farmers would be guided and exposed to training, with a view to getting good yield to enable them to repay their loans.
He noted that the state government was making available new agricultural opportunities and support, aside from the provision of land, training and market.
Odedina stated, however, that the present administration had successfully created more than 5,000 jobs in the cassava sector, adding that agricultural development was part of the state government’s agenda in creating jobs, food security and promote industrialisation in the state.
Also speaking, Mrs Kehinde Jokotoye, the Project Director, Ogun Cassava Revolution, noted that the era of cutlass and hoe for farming was passed; adding that to woo energetic youths to farming, mechanisation must be encouraged through a model that could be followed.
“We want to make cassava farming very attractive to the youth; that is why we are going fully mechanised.
“From land clearing, preparation, planting and herbicides application, are all mechanised process; and we know that this is the kind of operation the youths will like to see, and a model to follow,” she said.
Jokotoye expressed optimism that with the expertise used on the demonstration farm, 40 tons of cassava tubers were expected per hectare after harvest.