Rep. Abiodun Faleke, member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, has empowered over 2400 rural farmers in Kogi with a grant worth over N800 million.
Dr Tunde Arosanyin, the Project Lead Consultant, disclosed this at the distribution of various Agricultural Inputs, Farm Seeds, Fertilizer and Insecticides,” to farmers on Monday in Kabba, Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
The programme was facilitated by the lawmaker in collaboration with the Federal College of Fisheries And Marine Technology (FCFMT), Lagos, and Lightfeed Global Services Limited.
Arosanyin noted that over N800 million was being expended to empower farmers across the three federal constituencies in Kogi West Senatorial district, which include: Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu, Lokoja/Kotonkarfe and Yagba Federal Constituencies.
According to him, major cluster farms have been established in each federal constituency which involve land clearing, provision of various agricultural equipment and inputs, installation of solar powered boreholes and lightings as well as monthly stipends for farmers.
Ordinarily, Hon. Faleke is representing Ikeja federal constituency but he has dimmed it fit to remember his people back home.
“This is the second phase of the programme. We have empowered about 600 farmers in the first phase, and have also attached additional three farmers to each cluster groups.
“By extension, the first phase has covered about 2400 rural farmers. This second phase is targeting the three federal constituencies in Kogi west, and we are piloting with 50 farmers in each constituency.
“All the phases are huge investment as we have also purchased new tractors for the farmers, and each tractor with set of implements worth over N32 million.
“To put it conservatively together, we are spending over 800 million to empowered rural farmers across Kogi West in the first and second phases of the project,” he said.
He explained that they had engaged bulldozer services to clear over 200 hectares of land, and each hectare cost N100,000.
He added that they would construct Ware houses and Processing centres in each cluster farms’ location, valued at over N35 million and N55 million each, respectively.
“We will construct solar lightings in each farm cluster, which will cost over N75 million, and a commercial solar boreholes to ensure 24 hours water supply all year round.
“So, in total everything will be close to between N800 million to N1 billion,” he said.
He added that they had also given wheel barrows, working tools, and had started paying stipends to the farmers since June.
“We will start harvesting first phase in December and January, which will wind down, and we go into another phase,” he said.
Arosanyin advised the beneficiaries to take good advantage of the empowerment programmes, saying whatever inputs given to them should not be sold, but be nurtured for their own economical development.
He further urged them to be diligent and committed, that they would soon begin to reap the dividends, stressing that absenteeism on the farm would not be tolerated.
The inputs were distributed to farmers in Lokoja/Kotonkarfe axis on Thursday, while that of Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu and Yagba axes were done today with stipends to carry out their activities.
A total of 150 farmers’ each received inputs, such as: high quality seedlings of oil palm, cocoa and cashew; sprayers, organic fertilizer, rain boot, cutlasses, herbicides and pesticides.
Representative from Lightfeed Global Services, Benjamin Otu, urged beneficiaries to utilise everything they received judiciously for their own benefits, saying it would add more value to them and their wellbeing.
Some of the beneficiaries commended Hon Faleke and the team for the gesture in empowering farmers in this hard time at the grassroots.
Ogungbuyi Raphael, Segede Benjamin, Modupe Siseku, and Bidemi Ajengbe, who spoke on behalf of their various clusters in Isanlu and Kabba, said they had benefitted immensely from the projects and their farms were flourishing.