The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has concluded plans to unveil 21 smallholder farmers’ cooperatives across the state, which will benefit from innovative models and funding from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
The governor disclosed this when he launched the Farm Aggregation Model for Smallholder Agriculture based on Technology (FAM-SMART) at Ossiomo Industrial Park in Benin City, Edo State.
He said his administration intends to achieve its promise to create 200,000 jobs for Edo people through initiatives such as FAM-SMART, noting, “We have prepared ourselves as a government, waiting for opportunities of this nature. We had certain challenges which you have now taken care of, particularly on how to manage these geo-cooperatives of smallholders into clusters, how to provide the technology and the mechanisation, all of these you brought in one package.”
“Before the end of the year, we want to have a workshop with NIRSAL and launch 21 geo-cooperatives across the state. I will call on local government chairmen across the 18 local government areas to establish one geo-cooperative each in their local government areas. The state government would have three, one in each of the three senatorial districts,” he added.
Obaseki assured that land would be provided, as farmers would be motivated and trained and linked to off-takers.
He said the geo-cooperatives would be adequately funded, adding, “We are very happy and excited with this pilot, which demonstrates that by using technology, financing and putting the whole value chain together, we can compete with others across the world.
“I want to assure you that you have a partner in Edo State Government and we understand what you are trying to achieve and ready to commit resources to working with you to make sure we achieve food sufficiency and provide raw materials for the industries we are trying to attract into the state.”
The Managing Director, NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, said FAM-SMART is rural-based, market-led and technology-driven system of primary agriculture production designed by NIRSAL for smallholder farmers that relies on three principles, adding that “Agriculture in the Ossiomo Industrial Park encompasses the pre-upstream and upstream. This has created lots of economic activities in the form of direct and indirect jobs.”