Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has urged regional investors, stakeholders, particularly the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to take advantage of the state’s available manpower, land, and weather toward providing adequate funding and incentives for farmers.
Increased funding and incentives for small holder-farmers who are the mainstay of Nigeria’s agricultural sustainability programme, he said, would revolutionize the sector in the state and provide avenues for job creation opportunities for teeming unemployed youths.
The governor noted that the outbreak of coronavirus and its attendant impact on every sector necessitated the call for support, adding that it was imperative that the farmers are supported to eliminate issues of food scarcity across the country.
Speaking yesterday during the NEPAD Summit and technical roundtable discussion on strengthening small-holder farmer capabilities in the COVID-19 era at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, Lalong noted that support from regional investors and agencies like NEPAD with its blueprint for the economic development of the African Union would cushion the virus’ impact on farmers.
According to him, the farmers need every support to build their capacity to embrace modern farming practices, harvest, store and add value to their produce as well as access better marketing channels for better earnings.
Furthermore, he commended NEPAD for the initiative, which he said, was in tandem with the priority of his administration which was anchored on using areas of comparative advantage for sustainable economic rebirth.
“We welcome NEPAD’s initiative in Plateau State and ask you to take advantage of the Agriculture Microfinance Bank which is the first of its kind in Nigeria. We hope you can easliy connect and assist our farmers through this avenue and many others which we have been using to equip them with the relevant knowledge and skills,” he said.
Lalong also said that the agricultural institutions in Plateau State, available land, manpower, and its peculiar weather for production of exotic crops make it a natural destination for programs such as that of NEPAD.
The governor assured that Plateau women would be carried along in the programme as most of them are hardworking and have also been trained by various agencies to take advantage of opportunities in agriculture.