The agricultural policy will create and expand job opportunities by intervening and facilitating job and wealth creation through the entire agricultural value chain –
- Production and supply of agricultural inputs.
- Production of food/ fibers for man and industries.
- Processing and value addition.
- Packaging and marketing.
- Production of the local raw materials for the industrial sector
- Young graduates and school leavers will be trained as “agriprenuers” to take advantage of the opportunities in any aspect of the agricultural value chain.
- Seed multiplication farms- livestock and fish breeding centres will be established under Public Private Partnership (PPP) to facilitate access to high yielding and disease resistant inputs, livestock (breeding stock) and fingerlins.
- Urban agriculture shall be an integral part of this policy to train service providers and utilize fallow land in urban areas.
- The major area for rural development would be to improve village level infrastructure in terms of roads, potable water, education, health, supply chain, electricity, ICT, job creation, security in rural areas and linkage to agro markets.
- Improvement of the livelihoods of the host communities through access to micro-credit scheme and other Local Economic Development (LED) programmes.
- Production of High-yielding crops, farm settlements, complete with training institutes.
- Setting up processing facilities, tractors, in-farm housing units in each of the three senatorial districts.
- Creation of special unit for packaging for export in order to earn foreign exchange
- Revamping of abandoned farms and ranches such as Urhonigbe Rubber Factory, Leventis Farms, Warrake Farms, the Igarra Cattle Ranch, Ubiaja Goat Farms, and where necessary, creation of new ones.
- To establish an integrated Rural Development Programme designed to be complemented by auxiliary small- scale businesses with high job creation capacity.
- To provide agricultural extension services to farmers in the state.
- To set up by law an Agricultural Investment Promotion Agency that would serve as a link between the farmers and the market place to ensure regular flow of income through ready patronage and stabilization of commodity prices.
- To identify the physically challenged and economically disadvantaged persons who are target beneficiaries of the new Micro Credit Scheme.
- Liaise with local and international agencies on how best to fast-forward our agricultural potential.
The idea is to have 100,000 hectares annually at Agbede, Warrake, Agenebode, Ekpoma, Ilushin land for both up-land and low-land rice production with the potential yield of 500,000 metric tons of paddy rice annually. Additionally, 50,000 out growers cultivating about 2 hectares each will be supported to produce additional 250,000 metric tons of paddy rice annually making a total of 750,000 metric tons of paddy rice.
The government will encourage through PPP, the establishment of layer farms that are capable of producing 210 million eggs annually while individual and cooperatives will be encouraged to produce up to 200,000 eggs annually. They will be assured to get good breeds and feeds to improve their farm. With broiler production, farmers will maintain steady bi-monthly supplies of 200,000 birds to the market to completely replace imported frozen chicken with all its potential health hazards.
Livestock Fattening Programme
Government can partner with investors to rehabilitate the Igarra Cattle Ranch for the purpose of FATTENING cattle during the dry season (October-December). With adequate nutrition and watering, Cattles can be fattened to gain 30%weight within three months, especially if they are undernourished or mal-nourished, as is usually the case in Nigeria. Annually, 100,000 units of cattle can be fattened for sale in December, January till April. The infrastructures needed to achieve this are quite basic with minimal transportation and fencing being the most critical.
Rehabilitation of Urhonigbe Rubber Estate
Rubber is doing fairly well in the international market, commanding about $1,160 per ton. The Urhonigbe Rubber Estate has a vast potential and it is still capable of producing up to 250,000 metric tons of rubber lump annually. The estate needs massive rehabilitation, agronomic practice and management turnaround. We will do this.
Development of Large Scale Nurseries
Planting materials is the foundation of a sound practical agricultural or green revolution, so the government will have nurseries to produce seedlings for:
- Oil Palm: 5 million seedlings annually to plant 33,000 hectares.
- Cocoa: 20 million seedlings to plant 18,000 hectares.
- Cashew: 4 million seedlings to plant 50,000 hectares.
Homestead Artisanal Fisheries Development
Homestead fisheries and hatcheries will be developed and riverine areas will be linked to credit sources to buy modern fishing gears, net and outboard engines for fishing canoes. The hatcheries will be on PPP level and will be capable of supplying over 50 million fingerlings annually while the homestead fisheries will be capable of producing 250,000 metric tons of fish annually.
Along the major river banks near major urban centers like Ikpoba and Ogba in Benin City, Orle (near Auchi), and Edion near (Ihievbe), major horticultural and high value vegetables will be produced all year round using modern agronomic and green-house techniques, and modern pest and disease management systems. In other urban centers without water, irrigations will be made possible through the use of boreholes. The idea is that the urban centers in the state will have horticultural farms for all season production of high value vegetables like: Amaranthus (green), Pumpkin (Umwenkhen), Okra, Carrot, Cucumber, Cabbage, Green maize, Ginger and Alligator pepper. All vacant plot owners will be encouraged to turn them into a market garden or horticultural farm.
Agricultural Marketing Boards/Companies
Agricultural companies will be established to take advantage of market margins for the principal cash crops like cocoa, oil palm and cashew. Export of these crops will also be done in these quasi-government companies. Companies that are in agricultural marketing presently are making so much money.
Cassava Seed Multiplication Farm
100,000 hectares of Cassava Seed Multiplication farms will be established in all local government areas of the state. Each LGA would be expected to produce at least 5000 hectares of disease-resistant and high yielding cassava cuttings for sale to farmers.
The IITA supported processing factory at Irrua and the Casavita factory at Uromi and ten additional ones in strategic areas in the state will be established. Each of them will have a minimum capacity of 10 tons/hour. Development of “Edo State Garri” as a brand to be sold all over the country and beyond. The appropriate government agency will establish international standards for all agricultural produce and ensure strict compliance.
Medicinal or herbal Garden
Valuable plants with medicinal or herbal properties used widely in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries will be cultivated in the 3 senatorial districts. These include Dogonyaro, Moringa, Arthemis and Aloe Vera. This will be sustained and expanded as the need goes up. This will be in partnership with firms, so that within a period of two years, Edo State will be a major exporter of herbal medicine.
Edo State Investment Promotion Commission (ESIPC) can spearhead a programme of getting local and foreign investors into a consortium to execute the Nigerian Master-plan for Sugar and earn over $3 billion dollars for the state. An out-growers programme in each of these districts would place at least five hectares in the hands of an agro-preneur. Every hectare has the potential to create 15 jobs down the entire Sugarcane value chain from land preparation to planting, to nurturing, to harvesting, to loading, to processing, to bagging, to transportation, to warehousing, to retailing, to banking.