Excitement as Kogi state holds maiden agricultural summit

The summit which has as its theme,”Agriculture: Investment Opportunities”would be declared open by His excellency, the governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello who will thereafter launch the Fair Agric Project (FAP).

Checks revealed that FAP is the vehicle to implement the agriculturist vision of the Governor Belloand it is designed to create agricultural villages or settlements where farmers and all those in the value chain would specialize in the production, processingand sale of one crop which would help carve a niche for themselves.

The minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh would make a lead presentation on the topic,”It is Agriculture’s Time to Shine”,while there will be several expert presentations from ADP officials, Civil Society Organizations, University Dons as well as representatives of credit or financial institutions.

Managing Director of the ADP, Oyisi Paul Okatahi says the summit is an opportunity to bring together all stakeholders namely investors, farmers,sponsors, academics and the general public to deliberate and create opportunities within the state.

The deliverables of the summit is to create jobs within the state especially for youths and women, income generation and trade balance. Bring in local and foreign investment opportunities, open up cluster farming centres across the state and ultimately to create wealth for the teaming population of the state.

The summit will help farmers in the state consolidate on cassava production, rice, cashew and also to be number one for other crops such as soya-bean and maize.

Kogi is already the number one cassavaproducer in Nigeria and by extension number one in the world (Nigeria: 54 million metric tonnes (MT) per annum. While Kogi produce slightly over 4 million metric tonnes.

The summit is expected to bring about expedited action on agricultural development while there will be the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with investors during and after the summit.

The event would also see to the granting of investor’s conditional Certificate of Ownership (C of O) to develop Fair Agricultural Project (FAP) Villages. This will be tied to performance milestones.

Other expected outcomes of the summit are; design and supply of agricultural value chain; improved collaboration between agricultural and other relevant organizations with Kogi state government using ADP as the focal point; registration of farmers on the on-line farmer’s directory to enhance seamless communication withfarmers; and, building online commodity exchange for farmers.

Meanwhile, Okatahi has assured that the lingering dispute between the Kogi state government and labour unions in the statewould soon be over.

He gave the assurance at a one-day training on electronic agricultural extension programme for ADP workers held in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital, addingthat Governor Bello-led administration, labour leaders and well meaning stakeholders have been engaging in fruitful discussions to resolve the crisis.

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