From George Kajo, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has flagged-off the distribution of improved seeds to the 23 local government Area Councils in the State.
Performing the ceremony at the headquarters of the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, in Makurdi on Saturday, Governor Ortom tasked the Council Chairmen to ensure that the improved seeds are given to genuine farmers for onward cultivation in this year’s farming season.
The improved seeds flagged-off for distribution include, 6,900 bags of rice, 833 bags of maize, 1,000 tins of watermelon seeds, 333 bags of sorghum and 11,000 bundles of cassava stems totaling 20,066.
Governor Ortom commended the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs under the leadership of the Special Adviser, Barr. Kenneth Achabo for initiating and sustaining the agricultural programme, saying he was impressed with the results achieved in two years.
He called on the people to key into the programme, noting that it has added economic value towards boosting the agriculture sub-sector for food security.
The Governor pointed out that with two private investors in Makurdi and Ukum as offtakers in cassava processing as its major raw material, the product was already in short supply, calling on the people to engage in profitable agriculture.
He directed the Special Adviser on Local Government and Chiefteincy Affairs to laise with the Agriculture Departments of Local Governments to organize a seminar for farmers on best modes of cultivation of the improved seeds to produce the needed result.
Earlier, the Special Adviser, Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr Kenneth Achabo lauded Governor Ortom for the premium the Governor has placed on agriculture.
Benue State House of Assembly Standing Committee on Local Government and Chiefteincy Affairs, represented by a Member of the committee, Hon Geoffrey Agbatse praised Governor Ortom for rural transformation, and appealed to the local government Chairmen to ensure that the seeds are used properly.
Chairman of Guma local government council, Dr Mike Ubah who spoke on behalf of the 23 Council Chairmen appreciated the Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs for initiating the agricultural programme in collaboration with the State government and assured that real farmers in the local governments will benefit from the improved seeds.
It will be recalled that council chairmen in the sate last year, initiated the programme being coordinated by the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs which council funds are deducted at source for the project.