The Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security in Edo State, Hon. Stephen Idehenre has said that Edo State is spearheading the agricultural revolution in Nigeria even as he outlined key initiatives driving the state’s success in various sectors, including oil palm, rubber, cashew, and cassava.

The commissioner revealed this in a recent statement during his discussion on “Agribusiness Opportunities in Edo” in the “Doing Business in Edo”, a television programme on Edo Broadcasting Service (EBS).

According to him, with the allocation of over 62,500 hectares of land for oil palm by the present administration, Edo is maintaining its top spot as a national leader in the industry. The commissioner emphasized the “strong strategy in the Edo State Oil Palm Programme” that has been put in place to revitalize the sector, promising robust growth in the coming years.

He said: “If you recall, last year alone, Nigeria from just a little above 20,000 metric tons moved to 92,000 metric tons importation of palm oil from Malaysia alone. That means the demand for oil palm is increasing. Therefore, we as a state have taken our position to say there is a need for more for our people. We have given out about 62,500 hectares of land for oil palm cultivation. Aside from Okomu and Presco, we have other big players in the industry who are adding value and we are creating an enabling environment for all.”

He added, “As for Rubber, Edo’s rubber industry is undergoing a transformation thanks to a well-developed development strategy. I am optimistic that rubber will soon rival oil palm in terms of growth and contribution to the state’s economy. This is because, having concluded with the ESOPP programme, we have met with all the critical stakeholders in the rubber value chain: the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, the farmers and the processors. We have had a series of meetings. We have developed a strong policy which is as strong as ESOPP that will help to drive the industry because our intention is to also do to rubber, what we did to oil palm and I am sure we can all see the contribution of oil palm to our state’s economy. So, with the already developed rubber strategy, I can assure you, we are coming back very strong to take our number one position in Nigeria. If you acknowledge the success of ESOPP, you will also acknowledge the upcoming success of rubber.”

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For cashew, a revolutionary new variety of cashew called “poly clona” is putting Edo at the forefront of the cashew game.

Hon. Idehenre noted: “The governor has approved the free distribution of 200,000 seedlings to farmers, promising a significant boost to production and income. This is the newest variety in the industry. We want to attract young people into this sector. We understand that the gestation period of 4-year or so is a major disadvantage to young people especially. That is why as a government, we decided to come up with a new variety that will be more attractive to all. We see people exporting cashew from Edo. We are coming up as a government to now properly develop the sector.

“Edo maintains its undisputed reign as the cassava champion of Nigeria. The presence of major cassava processing companies like DUFIL is a testament to the state’s dominance in the sector.

“Most of the industrialized countries of the world are actually the agricultural revolution that drove the industries to make these countries industrialized. So, we are also saying let us develop the agricultural sector taking into consideration those areas that we have comparative advantage like oil palm, cassava, rubber, cashew and cocoa and that is what we are doing.”

The commissioner’s statement paints a vibrant picture of the agricultural dynamism in Edo State. By actively supporting key sectors like oil palm, rubber, cashew, and cassava through strategic initiatives and resource allocation, Edo is not only ensuring food security and income generation for its citizens but also leading the way for a nationwide agricultural revolution.