The Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORBDA) recently launched two integrated farm projects in Okpe and Uneme Nekhua both in Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo as part of the Federal Government’s efforts at boosting agriculture in the country.
The integrated farm projects, modelled after the Songhai farm in Porto Novo, Benin Republic, consists of production, processing, research enterprises, integrated crops, fisheries, animal husbandry and marketing.
Speaking at the inauguration of the projects, the Managing Director of BORBDA, Mr Saliu Ahmed, said that the farms were established to revamp the agricultural sector and ensure national food security.
Ahmed said the two communities would cultivate 100 hectares each, adding that the projects were equipped with; sales point, agro-forestry, market garden, feed mill, cassava and fruit juice processing units, abattoir, biogas facility, a dormitory, among other facilities.
According to him, the farm projects will serve as a research and experimental hub for local farmers, to learn new and productive methods of doing farming as a business.
“The Okpe and Uneme Nekhua integrated farms have the potential of significantly improving the local production of cassava and several other crops, animal feed, poultry, pig, fish production in an integrated manner that ensures nothing goes to waste.
“An improvement in the productivity of smallholder farmers will translate to improved food security and standard of living in the host communities and beyond,” he said.
The managing director noted that the farms would restore hope and confidence between the communities and indigenes, thereby making the youths of the communities major players in the nation’s economy.
“These farms are to be woven around the host communities and a first step towards achieving this will be the sponsorship of selected youths of the communities for immersion training at Songhai farms in Porto Novo, Benin Republic.
“These projects, which are currently at the clearing stages, will benefit all and even generations to come. “We, therefore, strongly advocate for total community ownership and participation,” he said.
The facilitator of the project, Rep. Peter Akpatason, (APC-Edo), Akoko Edo Federal Constituency, said the projects were unique and part of the vision of the federal government to use agriculture for job creation.
Akpatason said his decision to attract such projects was to encourage the people to use agricultural activities to empower themselves.
“I decided to bring these projects to my constituents because it is a legacy project that will stand the test of time.
“My advice for the people of my constituency is to make good use of this rare opportunity by embracing the project and supporting the Benin-Owena river basin to ensure the project is completed,” he advised.