Senior Agricultural Economist with the World Bank Dr Adetunji Oredipe has said that the bank will establish equipment hiring enterprise centres for cassava farmers in Kogi State to encourage mechanisation.
Oredipe disclosed this in Lokoja when he led a Task Team on monitoring visit to FADAMA III Additional Financing project sites in the state.
He said the Fadama Additional Financing project has the mandate of working with cassava farmers in the state to boost production and supply of raw materials to processing plants with particular emphasis on cassava industries.
The economist said that as part of key activities of the Additional Financing, the World Bank aimed to make mechanisation easier for farmers by enhancing their accessibility to equipment through the centres.
He added that “we also have provision for key infrastructure that will enable our cassava farmers to be able to produce enough food, just as we are going to support high quality inputs.
“We are also going to support capacity building because if people are in business and don’t know the tenets of business like simple issues of record keeping, it will be disastrous.
“All of these will be covered and we will also teach them how to remain together as a group and the advantages of social networking.’’
Oredipe said the body intended to engage scientists as advisory services consultants to work on the fields with the farmers to boost their yields and enable the attainment of the goals of the project within its lifespan.
He commended Kogi Government for being one of the first to pay its counterpart contribution for the project in 2014 and urged the state to pay its 2015 obligation arrears.
The payment, he said, would enable the state to fully draw down on the 20 million U.S. Dollars set aside for it.
The agricultural economist said the monitoring visit would among others, enable the team to assess the level of implementation of the agriculture work plan and status of activities on the fields.
Oredipe noted that “as the end of the exercise, we will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with the project officers on how best to improve on what we are doing and foster new relationships in terms of how to move the project forward.’’ (NAN)