Delta state commissioner for agriculture, Austin Chikezie, on Monday listed specific areas where the state government has made progress in line with the prosperity agenda of the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta state.
Mr. Austin Chikezie, the commissioner for agriculture, in speech to commemorate the world food day, told journalists in Asaba that the state government has given a boost to agriculture by keying into many programmes with the objective of making life good for the people of the state.
Chikezie said the state government has keyed into the central bank of Nigeria’s anchor borrowers programme where he said over 41,000 farmers in 463 cooperative across cassava, rice and fisheries were registered in the state.
He said out of this number, 7900 farmers who met criteria were trained and empowered wth loan in kind and cash, adding that the empowerment was to ensure more income for the farmers, create jobs and reduce extreme hunger in line with the prosperity agenda of the Okowa’s administration.
He also said under the palm oil development programme, 220,000 improved oil palm seedlings were raised for distribution to farmers, noting that five mini oil mills have been fabricated and distributed to farmers in the state.
He said the objective of all the government interventions is to ensure value addition to oil palm production, create job and reduce rural urban migration.
In the aspect of rice production, he said 450 rice farmers were trained, adding that 198 were given 15 tons of rice seeds, 1800 litres of agro-chemicals and 1800 bags of fertilizers to establish 248 hectares of rice farm.
He said three new rice mills were purchased for Obior, Agbarho and Onicha-Ukwuani rice processing and installation of mills is ongoing. He said this effort will create 1000 direct and indirect jobs for youths of Delta state when fully completed.
Chikezie also said the government is encouraging acquaculture in the state. He said over 5000 fish farmers are being engaged in acquaculture.
“Fish are produced from private and homestead farms as well as fish farm clusters managed by groups and co-operative societies across the state. He said two new fish farm clusters were established at Ewulu in Aniocha south and Mbiri in Ika north east council areas of the state,” the commissioner said.
In the area of livestock, Chikezie said one grasscutter and one goat multiplication units were established to provide early maturing breeding stock, facilitate job creation, generate revenue for government and meet the protein needs of the people of Delta state.
He said plans are on to purchase a complete unit of micro tracer magnetic rotary detector for the state, saying this device will be used to validate the mixer efficiency of animal feeds to ensure high quality feeds supply to livestock farmers in the state.