In line with his campaign promise of restoring agriculture to its pre-eminent position in the state’s economy, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo at the Government House in Benin on Thursday inaugurated an ad hoc committee under the Agriculture Empowerment Initiative to revamp agriculture in the state.
The committee, a product of the Public Private Partnership between the State and private sector partners, he said, is to kick-start reforms in the sector before a full committee would be formed.
Stakeholders in the PPP arrangement include Saro AgroSciences, a leading agribusiness company with expertise in crop production and protection and Afrinvest W.A. Limited a leading financial advisory service provider in Nigeria and West Africa.
Obaseki explained that the ad hoc committee would help the government implement specific projects, which would create between 50,000 and 80,000 agric jobs before the end of the year in five Local Government Areas.
Speaking on the mandates of the ad hoc committee, Obaseki said: “We want to ensure that we begin some agricultural activities before the next cropping season. We want to cultivate 5,000 hectares of maize located in 5 Local Government Areas of the State producing at least 25,000 metric tons of maize in the first year.”
This is in addition to another 1,000 Greenhouse Farm producing 4,000 metric tons of tomatoes yearly, piggery producing 30,000 animals annually, Golden Cocoa Programme primed to turn Edo into a major cocoa producing state in the country by improving yield by over 50% in the first year of implementation.
The governor said the partnership will through the four projects: Generation of employment for the teeming youth population of the State, wealth creation through agricultural activities that will lead to the creation of 2000 millionaire Agripreneurs who will in turn generate jobs for at least 30,000 youths across each units of the state and food security for the over four million people of the State.
He added that the State’s Ministry of Agriculture would serve as secretariat, while the Secretary to the State Government would give the committee the necessary support, while the committee will, on a weekly basis, submit progress reports.
Commenting, chairman of the ad hoc committee, Chief Osaro Idah, commended the governor for the opportunity to serve and assured of the committee’s commitment to achieve its mandate of employment creation and increased agricultural productivity in the state.
Other members of the eight-man committee include Oluwole Adeyegbe, Deputy Chairman, B. S. Kadiri as Secretary, and Dr. Tunde Faturoti, Mr Olumide Ogunedojutimi, Walter Obaseki, Surveyor Godwin Osayande and Victor Ndakauba as members.