From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Tuesday, flagged off the distribution of equipment to farmers under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to promote agribusiness.
The governor also restated the commitment of his administration to the protection of the environment to make it conducive and attractive for agriculture and protect forest resources for the benefit of the state.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony held at the Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex, Ado Ekiti on Tuesday, the governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, said his administration has made incentives available to boost agriculture in the state.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, the benefiting 540 farmers received 90,000 seedlings, 13,500 kilograms of fertilizers, 1,000 litres of agrochemicals, 550 pairs of safety boots, hand gloves, safety helmets, raincoats, knapsack sprayers, among others.
Governor Fayemi noted that his administration explored the NEWMAP option in its quest to develop agriculture revealing that Ekiti is among 23 States of the federation participating in the World Bank assisted project.
‘This empowerment programme for farmers in Ekiti State is one of the fulfilment of our promised to strengthen agriculture in our dear state and make it a business that can boost our economy,’ he stated.
‘As a responsible government, we are leaving no stone unturned in our continued quest to move agriculture, which is the mainstay of our economy, from mere production of staple foods for farmers to thriving and sustainable agribusiness.
‘In our quest to achieve improved economic status, we have also invested and done much not only to support our farmers but also to put needed infrastructure that can enhance production and marketing of agriculture outputs in place.’
The governor identified NEWMAP as an intervention project by the Federal Government for the management of erosion and watershed challenges across the country.
He added that the programme was generally aimed at rehabilitating degraded lands, reducing erosion and flood disaster and creating a new environment that is hazard-free for the benefit of the people, among others.
The Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Princess Iyabo Fakunle-Okieimen, explained that Ekiti became of the Tier IV States to key into the project in 2019 crediting the Governor with the feat.
She identified the major components of the project to include erosion and watershed management, infrastructure investment, institutions and information services, climate change resilience and project management.
The commissioner disclosed that the event bordered on regeneration of degraded forest reserves and woodlots and targeted at cultivating 250 hectares of land in 9 forest reserves in Ado, Ikere, Ise/Orun, Emure, Ekiti West, Ekiti East, Gbonyin, Ekiti Southwest and Oye Local Government Areas.
The Chairman of Crown Ocean Nigeria Limited, the technical partners of the project, Mr Ganiyu Saheed, hailed the Fayemi administration for subscribing to NEWMAP to save the environment and boost agriculture.
He said farmers would be trained on proper handling of the tools and operational techniques of planting trees.