The Edo State Government has launched the 2022 dry farming season with the distribution of irrigation equipment to over 500 farmers in the state to enhance year-round food production.

The state launched the programme under Edo (FADAMA) CARES Result Area II of Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Scheme, which is geared towards alleviating hunger and encouraging agricultural production.

Addressing beneficiaries of the scheme at the Rubber Estate Nigeria Limited, Ovia South-West Local Government Area (LGA), the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Stephen Idehenre stated that the intervention seeks to empower smallholder farmers with small irrigation equipment to aid food production during the dry season.

He said: “Edo State Government through its intervention project, Edo CARES, is strengthening the momentum towards all-year-round farming. We are empowering smallholder farmers with small irrigation equipment. Over 500 farmers will be empowered with the provision of 171 units of small irrigation equipment. 139 units of the equipment will be distributed at Auchi, Etsako West LGA and 32 units would go to farmers in Ovia South-West LGA.”

Idehenre added that the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration is prioritizing agriculture as one of the schematic pillars of the Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) Agenda, adding, “Edo State is making steady progress in the agricultural sphere. Agriculture remains a major economic pillar for job and wealth creation and we are taking advantage of these potential to develop the state.

“We have attracted investments valued at $532.2 million from nine firms to the oil palm sector alone via the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP). A total of 62,500 hectares have been allocated to investors and is expected to create over 200,000 jobs across the value chain and add over 1000,000 metric tons of crude palm oil (CPO) by 2030.”

The State Project Coordinator, Edo CARES, Dr. Izevbigie Edward expressed appreciation to the government for its holistic approach to ensuring food security in the state.

He said: “Edo State Government has zero-tolerance for hunger and is irrevocably committed to increasing food security for its citizenry through the fight against hunger, poverty and malnutrition.

“It has continued to create a peaceful, stable and enabling environment in which people can till the land and feed themselves with dignity. He has also put in place programmes in agriculture that will facilitate production.”