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Nigeria: Edo state addresses land issue for smallholder farmers

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Smallholder farmers in Edo state have little or no access to land. The Edo state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has taken this into consideration and has decided to address the issue.

He established a 13-member committee to stabilize policies and programmes relating to land management especially as it relates to agricultural development.

Mr Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who represented the governor at the inauguration repeated that the government is committed to making Edo state become an agricultural hub in Nigeria through various agricultural development policies and programmes.

He charged the committee members to put in great effort towards ensuring that the state government’s Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) agenda is actualized.

According to him, “The formation of this committee is very apt because of the developmental agenda of this administration. I have so much confidence in this committee, going by the array of professionals put together to pursue this mandate.”

In his remarks, Chuks Ofulue, the representative of Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) who works closely with the state government to ensure that the committee functions optimally said that research has revealed that apart from finance, smallholder farmers also face the challenge of land availability.

“We often partner with the government to put aside anything that will clog the wheel of development. We also want to ensure that smallholder farmers have a voice,” he said.

Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Mr Kelvin Uwaibi, who is the Chairman of the committee, assured that the committee members would bring their wealth of experience to bear to ensure that smallholder farmers in the state gain access to arable lands.

“We need to find solutions to the issue of land in the state. Edo State should be known as a friendly state with respect to investments. We will work with the terms of reference to achieve the purpose for this committee.”

In his contribution, Chief Amadin Osayande, the Deputy Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) said that for the committee to succeed, it must work closely with the government, the local community, and individuals who are known legal landowners in the locality.

Members of the committee include Kelvin Uwaibi, Ramson Aibie, Chief Amadin Osayande, Churchill Oboh, Curtis Ogbebor, Abusomwan Kingsley

Others are His Royal Highness D. E Igiehon; Dr Peter Osaiede; Vincent Ohwongiakpo, and Mr Henry Enabulele, among others.

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