The 2550 hectares of land secured for farming activities by the Kwara State government under its Off-takers Demand Driven Agriculture (ODDA) scheme have been oversubscribed by youth farmers in the State.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Bamidele Adegoke, who disclosed this in Ilorin, expressed delight that more youth are showing interest in agriculture. He added that people need to consider agriculture as a business venture.
Adegoke also clarified that the State government is not acquiring land from communities for the estate farm development, but collaborating with communities that are willing to provide land for farming activities.
He listed the communities where the government had secured land for the estate farms to include Oke-oyi, Ejidongari, Esie, Agbamu, Reke, Malete, Alateko, Ekan, Ballah, Isin, Share, Shonga, Bode-Saadu and Owode-Ofaro.
The Commissioner said over 1000 farmers are targeted to be empowered and settled on the estate farms, adding that women and unemployed youths would be given priority.
According to him, the Estate Farm initiative is unique because it ensures ease of administration, monitoring and allows the government to ensure adequate security for the farmers and their farm produce.
He added that the farmers enjoy subsidies on land clearing and land preparation, which eventually brings down the cost of production.
In a related development, the Special Adviser to the governor on Agriculture and Rural Water Support Services, Mr. Anu Ibiwoye disclosed that the N1b loan facility approved yesterday by the State House of Assembly, will be disbursed to peasant farmers across the 16 local governments of the State.
He explained that the loan facility is to be obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under its Anchor Borrowers programme, stressing that the State government is standing as guarantor for the farmers to enable them access the fund.
Ibiwoye stated that the facility will enhance agricultural activities at the local level, and ensure food security, job creation and poverty reduction.