Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said the steps taken by the federal government to raise tariff on importation of rice into the country would boost local production and encourage local farmers.
Governor Ortom said this yesterday in Makurdi when officials of the Federal Government of Nigeria/International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP, led by the Country Programme Manager of IFAD, Atsuko Toda, paid him a visit.
He said Benue under his administration is set for agriculture revolution noting that if the state which is reputed as Food Basket of the Nation enters into partnership with organizations like IFAD it would be able to feed not only the country but also Africa.
He said the state intends to fully go into dry season farming which is an area it enjoy comparative advantage over other states, and solicit support of IFAD, maintaining that Benue will continue to partner the body to boost local production of rice and cassava in the country.
Earlier, the Country Programme Manager of IFAD Atsuko Toda, stated that the organisation would key into the agricultural revolution of the Ortom administration to boost food production in the country.
According to Toda, with the payment of N87million counterpart fund by the Benue state government, IFAD is prepared to match that fund by four to five times per annum so that Benue farmers can also enjoy improvement in their value chain.
“We are targeting 15,000 farmer households in four local government areas of the state which includes, Guma, Gwer, Okpokwu and Logo and in so doing we will ensure improved farming inputs and also link producers to markets,” she noted.
She said Benue farmers and indeed the entire state stands to benefit immensely from the programme, adding “all we need is the cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure better earnings for our farmers.”
– John Shiaondo, Makurdi