By Samson Zanunga.
State Project Coordinator FADAMA III, Mrs. Regina Festus has applauded the commitment of Governor Darius Ishaku to the Project through the prompt payment of World Bank counterpart fund meant to boost rice production and other related agro-allied businesses in the state.
She made the remarks while responding to questions from Taravoices regarding the activities of the agency in the state.
The State Project Coordinator stressed that the prompt payment of the counterpart contribution by the Governor has so many positive things to the state.
According to the Coordinator, the agency recently held a seminar tagged fadamaguys, targeted at young graduates who are keen to go into farming but without the required capital to embark on it.
She revealed that the project is a national initiative where each state is to register six hundred youths for the scheme, saying “In Taraba, five hundred and forty youths registered on our portal”.
“Out of this number, it is not only graduates of agriculture related courses that we are targeting but, also those who are not agric biased. We will provide training for three hundred of them in the first phase. During this training, they will come out with a business plan that will be used as a road map for the agricultural enterprise they choose to embark upon”.
“Let me give you an instance, the current crop of farmers in the state are fast aging and most of them are based in the villages. Looking at the soaring number of young people graduating from our higher institutions, some have lost touch with what they studied in school due to unemployment in the country and seeing that farming is not just a vacation but business, we felt it was expedient to have them go into farming while we provide them with skills and empower them with the capital needed”. She narrated.
The State Project Coordinator also threw more light on the programmes lined up for farmers in the raining season farmers.
She revealed that the agency will empower farmers through provision of fertilizers, herbicides and other inputs to boost boost food production.
“You know the federal government is working hard to ensure that we produce our own rice which is key to stemming the tide of rice importation so, we are out to see that with support from the World Bank, we can have our own locally produced rice that can as well be exported. We urge the farmers to form groups because that will make it easy for us to monitor and ensure compliance”.
Mrs. Festus revealed that the scheme is strictly to boost rice production with additional funding.
“Let me inform you that Taraba is the first state to join the cluster states in rice production. Only recently, a farmer from this state produced one hundred and forty bags of rice during the dry season farming. This is a remarkable record as it is the first time that we have recorded such a feat and he is a Taraban. When the World Bank heard of the feat, they said we are under reporting our achievements, which is something we hope to improve upon”.
“The Government is not relenting, we are not relenting and therefore I urge our farmers not to relent. We are out to make our Governor and our people proud. I therefore urge our people to come out and not relent because we have a farmer friendly Governor”, she concluded.