World Food Day: Obaseki urges innovation to tackle food security, assures more support for smallholder farmers
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for innovations to tackle all challenges threatening food sufficiency, ensuring farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain increase agricultural productivity and achieve food security.
Obaseki gave the charge in commemoration of World Food Day, marked yearly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and other organs of the United Nations (UN).
Obaseki reassured his government’s sustained investment in the agricultural sector with priority to smallholder farmers, in the wake of the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting them to combat hunger, ensure sustainable production of affordable nutritious foods, and enhance their contribution to sustaining the economy.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s World Food Day, ‘Our actions are our future’, Obaseki called on everyone to be a food hero contributing to the transformation of agri-food systems and ensuring enough food for the global population.
“As we commemorate World Food Day, it’s necessary to reiterate the need for innovative solutions to the problem of food insecurity, which is a major threat to our health and livelihood.”
He noted, “As a government, we will sustain initiatives aimed at providing critical support to large and smallholder farmers in the state, leveraging our land assets to drive development and diversify the economy with a focus on sustaining food security.”
Listing some initiatives undertaken by his government in the agricultural sector to support farmers and ensure food security in the state, Governor Obaseki stated: “Our intervention in the agricultural sector has enabled us to support over 3,000 smallholder and large-scale farmers. In the Agriprenuer programme, we developed over 300 hectares of farmland in Iguomon Community, Ovia North East Local Government Area, optimising it for the production of swamp rice. A similar intervention programme was undertaken in Warrake Community, Owan East Local Government Area on a 500ha farmland.
“In Usugbenu, Ugboha and Sobe communities in Esan Central, Esan Southeast and Owan West, respectively, we empowered 1,500 farmers on the production of maize. For the Independent Farmers Initiative, 1,400 smallholder farmers were provided with agricultural inputs to drive cassava, maize, rice, soybean, poultry, and fisheries value chains.”
“Under the Oil Palm Initiative, over 63,000Ha of brownfields have been made available for nine investors for the development of oil palm plantations aimed at making the state a leader in oil palm production in Africa,” Obaseki added.