Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Thursday flagged off distribution of improved seedlings and crops to farmers across the 23 local government areas of the State.
Performing the ceremony at the headquarters of Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Makurdi, Governor Ortom said the seedlings and crops were high yielding and drought tolerant that could meet international demands.
He stated that the purchase and distribution of improved seedlings to farmers was a Growth Enhancement Support to small scale farmers to boost food production and provide raw materials for industries springing up in the State.
While reiterating his call on the Federal Government to stop invasion of farm lands by Fulani herdsmen for Benue people to fully return to farm, Governor Ortom commended the Bureau for Local Government and the 23 council chairmen for making the event possible.
Speaking, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Timothy Ijir commended the Governor for payment of subsidies on agricultural inputs, provision of tractors to farmers at highly subsidized rates and dogged fight against open grazing.
While calling on the private sector to engage in production of improved seedlings to make them readily available to farmers, Dr. Ijir said the seedlings would be distributed to 23,000 farmers across the State.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barrister Ken Achabo said the exercise was electioneering campaign promise kept as the administration had promised improved crop production which would go a long way in providing succour to farmers.
Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Benue State chapter, Mr. Caleb Abba said the move would support farmers whose seedlings were destroyed by herdsmen but have little respite to go back to their farms.
During the flag off, 4,666 improved rice seedlings, 230 bags of maize seedlings, 690 tins of melon seedlings as well as 10,000 cassava stems were earmarked for distribution to 1,000 farmers per local government area.
One of the would-be beneficiaries, Mrs. Elizabeth Achamber, said even though herders have destroyed their farms, with the provision of the Seedlings, their lives would be better off and called on the government to sustain the fight against headmen to leave their land for farming activities.
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