THE Federal Government has flagged off its 8th graduate farmers and youth empowerment scheme as part of the efforts to increase food production and ultimately improving the standard of living of the citizenry.
This new phase of the programme was launched in Illah/Ebu community of Delta State, where the Illah/Ebu Centre Pivot Irrigation system (CIPS) was recently commissioned by the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu.
The initiative of the government was to support the youth and farmers through the provision of irrigation infrastructure as well as enabling environment for job and wealth creation in the country.
Adamu, speaking at the ceremony said beneficiaries would be trained in dairy farming, animal husbandry, food processing and other sustainable agricultural activities.
He said the beneficiaries would subsequently be empowered through other Government intervention programmes to establish their own agricultural ventures and also as trainers in their own right, thereby creating a multiplier effect to further sustain the objectives of the programme.
“This will have attendant positive impact on the economy through improved food production and employment generation,” he said.
Managing Director of Benin – Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORBDA), Engineer Saliu Ahmed, said that the Illah/Ebu Irrigation Project was one of the priority projects of BORBDA, with a capacity of over 3,000 hectares of irrigable land out of which 550 hectares had so far been made available by the Illah and Ebu communities.
The twin communities are noted for the production of rice, water melon and cucumber.
Engineer Ahmed noted that irrigation had the potentials of increasing agricultural productivity manifolds through the opportunity of all year round cropping of the nation’s arable land.
The chairman of Delta Flood Plains Irrigation Farmers Association, Mr Raymos Guanah, lauded the Federal Government’s initiative of empowering the youths of the communities.
The representive of the graduate farmers, Mr.Charles Udoka, appealed to the Federal government to create an industrial market to enable them sell their perishable farm products after harvest.
The Graduate/Farmers Scheme of the Federal Government has so far been inaugurated in Kampe in Kogi State, Abeokuta in Ogun State, Talata Mafara in Zamfara State, Kadawa in Kano State, Ogoja in Cross River State, Agbala in Imo State, and Doma in Nasarawa State.