From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Edo State Chapter of the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria, (FACAN) has distributed 150,000 free cashew seedlings to farmers in Edo State.
The group also distributed 3000 hectares worth of sesame seeds to the farmers across the three Senatorial District of the State.
FACAN in partnership with Peniel Gerar Intl also trained 3000 farmers on sesame seeds, soybeans and groundnut commercial farming across the three senatorial districts of the state.
The gesture from FACAN is to bring farmers up to speed with modern agricultural practices to boost their produce and also provide a platform for them to take their place in the Agro Commodity Export business in Nigeria and West Africa sub-region.
Speaking at the Edo Agro Commodity Conference organised by the association held across the three Senatorial District of the state, the state’s Chairman of FACAN, Prince Enahoro Ojiefoh said that ‘the master plan of the association is to inject 1 million cashew trees in multiples of hundreds yearly.
‘That is, on the first year they invest 100,000 economic seedlings and add another 200,000, the third year, 300,000 so that by the fourth year, the farmers would have planted 1 million cashew trees.
For the sesame, we are targeting 2000 tons of Saseme seeds yearly into the Edo State economy which translate to about a minimum of 8 billion naira in value by the fifth year.’
Ojiefoh said they are currently working with the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) and Ambrose Ali University, especially the faculty and students of Agriculture to nurture this vision by gradually exposing students to the realities of their passion and chosen career path.
He also said the aim is to allow the students to explore the possibility of improving the practical sessions and agribusiness modules of the curriculum as time goes by which in turn will provide the skilled human capital required to drive this vision and create a fully functional and productive agro-allied and agribusiness industry for them to be gainfully employed.
While soliciting for collaboration from the state government and the private and organized sectors for FACAN in actualising the goal of their master plan within five years, he pointed out that many nations of the world have tilted the scales of economic growth towards agribusiness by focusing on the complete agricultural value chain for revenue generation and sustenance.
He reiterated that FACAN is determined to change the poverty narrative in the agricultural context and prove agribusiness is a goldmine by exploring the demography of the labour force, human capital development and invading the rural communities with industrialisation.
He said FACAN has signed an agreement with Peniel Gerar Intl Ltd and other 14 oil seeds processors and exporters as 100% off-takers for Edo sesame seeds, Soybean and groundnut farmers noting that Peniel Gerar Intl Ltd will set up four warehouses for sesame seeds, cocoa beans, cashew nuts exports in an early state.
Also speaking at the Edo South Farmers Support and Distribution Programme, the National President of FACAN, Dr Victor Iyama, who said that people erroneously associate agriculture with poverty noted that agriculture is a serious and highly lucrative business.
He maintained that sesame and cashew when properly cultivated would yield a lot of foreign currency for farmers in the international market.
The highpoint of the programme was the distribution of free cashew seedlings and sesame seeds to Edo State farmers across the three senatorial districts.