Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said that the partnership between the state government and the Central Bank of Nigeria was targeted at empowering no fewer than 1000 cassava farmers.
Fayemi said that the cassava production value chain would, apart from empowering the farmers, also help in propelling industrial development in the state.
The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Folorunso Olabode, who spoke in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday during the inauguration of the cassava planting season, said the state government had released over 6,000 hectares of land to Nigeria Cassava Growers Growers’ Association, Ekiti State Chapter
He said that for the smooth take off of the five-star Cassava Model Farming, the government had secured N1.9bn to prepare lands across various locations in the state to encourage farming.
He said, “The value chain in cassava is inestimable. It has over 50 products. Cassava has graduated from the famous garri to high grade starch, syrup, flakes, fufu paste, cassava bread and biofuel. In fact, it has transformed into a golden crop that can transform any economy.”
The governor said that Ekiti State played a prominent role in the formation of the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun to ward off destruction of farmlands by marauding herders.
The CBN Branch Controller in Ekiti State, Alhaji Ganiyu Atobatele, who described agriculture as the largest employer of labour in the country, said no effort must be spared to revamp the sector and return it as the mainstay of the economy, hence the bank’s partnership with the state government on cassava.
The National President of the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, Pastor Segun Adewumi, said 25 tractors and other mechanised equipment had been mobilised to Ekiti to begin the scheme.