AGRICULTURE

The Agriculture and National Resources Commissioner, Mr Julius Egbedi, said of the figure, the Ministry is proposing the sum of three hundred million naira for the development of cassava programme in the state.
He stated that the Ministry was also proposing the sum of two hundred and five million for the development of livestock in the state, while that of poultry development is one hundred million, piggery, Ninety million, and small non-ruminant has Fifteen million naira proposed estimate.
Mr Egbedi stated further that the Ministry is also proposing the sum of one hundred million to promote value chain development with emphasis on the processing of palm oil farmers, adding that a total of one thousand four hundred direct and indirect jobs would be created through the programme.
The Commissioner explained that maize production programme was not left out as the Ministry was proposing the sum of N80 million for the cultivation of maize, disclosing that the Ministry was partnering with maize association of Nigeria to secure land to boost maize production in the state.
He said the maize production project, when implemented is expected to provide one hundred and fifty direct and indirect jobs in the state.
Mr Egbedi also told the committee that opening of lands for farming has been a major challenge to farmers and Agriculture business entrepreneurs across the State due to huge financial involvement.
He announced government’s plan to open up Primary and Secondary forests for farmers across the state, saying that the sum of ninety three million naira is being proposed to open up 350 hectres of land for the program.
Mr Egbedi noted that Aquaculture is one of the areas in Agriculture which has yielded good result especially in the area of job creation for the teeming youths, disclosing that to further encourage young fish entrepreneurs in the state, the ministry has proposed the sum of two hundred million to expand the programme in the 2021 budget.
He said government has given approval for the state to participate in the Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme which is a special project for the empowerment of youths within the ages of 18 to 35 years in cluster farms not less than 100 hectares under the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN loan program.
The Commissioner stated that the maximum loan facility of the programme is one point five billion naira, N500 million and that a total of 750 youths have been profiled for the vegetable cluster which will utilise the Green House Technology, while more than 500 youths have been profiled for the fisheries clusters.
Mr Egbedi while commending the committee for support, appealed for an upward review of it’s budget in order to accommodate projects that are gender specific such as the Rural Women for Sustainable Agriculture.
Responding, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon Austins Chikezie commended the Ministry for a good budget presentation, and assured that the committee will look into the request made.
Hon Chikezie stressed the need for the ministry to implement policies and programs that will guarantee food sufficiency in the state.
The budget defense session was attended by other members of the committee.



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