The Ekiti State government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) haves entered into a partnership to boost the state’s commercial production of cassava through the empowerment of 1,000 farmers.
Representing Gov. Kayode Fayemi at the program’s flag-off in Ado Ekiti , State Commissioner for Agriculture, Folorunso Olabode, praised the cassava value chain as inestimable “golden crop” having proven itself capable of developing any economy with its more than 50 by-products.
Fayemi added that the government had secured N1.9 billion to prepare land in various locations across the state in order to encourage farming, massive employment and the availability of raw materials for agro-allied industries.
Ganiyu Atobatele, the CBN branch controller in Ekiti, asserted that every effort should be made to revamp agriculture and restore it as the mainstay of the economy, it being the largest employer of labor in the country.
“The CBN will make credit available to farmers under the five-star cassava project. The target is 30 metric tonnes per hectares and all activities will be mechanised. About 47,406 metric tonnes of cassava was produced in 2014 with bulk of it consumed.
“But with our intervention, it can be processed further to produce other products that will help the economy through employment generation, food security and foreign exchange earnings,” he said.
In his remarks, Segun Adewumi, the national president of the Nigeria Cassava Growers’ Association, applauded CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the partnering bank for keying into the dream of massive cassava production.
Adewumi affirmed that 25 tractors and other farm equipment had been mobilized to Ekiti State for the launch of the scheme.