By Kudirat Musa
Abuja – Mr Oyisi Okatahi, the Managing Director, Kogi Agricultural Development Project (ADP) said that the state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had trained 500 farmers across the state.
Okatahi made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja on the sideline of stakeholders’ meeting organised by Synergos Nigeria and Civil Innovation LAB.
He added that the training was on new agricultural innovation aimed at boosting food production in the state and make the country achieve food security soon.
According to him, the governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, had passion for agriculture and intended to make sure agriculture succeed in the state and ensured huge support on the sector.
“We have done a lot of training for farmers this year. We have trained 500 farmers across the state and we had support from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The Governor, Yahaya Bello, has passion for agriculture and intend to make sure that agriculture succeeds in the state and farmers get value for their farm produce.
“We have zonal offices to make sure that the training reach the real farmers.
“Am using this medium to call on real farmers, either as a cooperative or individual and wants to be trained to feel free to call us or send application, we will definitely come, ” he said.
He commended the collaboration between Synergos Nigeria and Civil Innovation Lab to use technology to enhance agricultural productivity in the country.
He explained that Kogi had similar platform which he said had benefitted a lot of farmers through the provision of meaningful information in terms of inputs and markets to boost agriculture.
“In Kogi, we have main platform of agriculture: farmers’ online marketplace, where farmers can buy and sell their goods online.
‘’They can also contact people to buy and sell produce like livestock, to reduce the impact of the middlemen.
“We have farmers database (www.kogiadp.org) where we list farmers by their gender, local government, farm location, size so if there is need to contact them for any programme.
“We open new centre, called Agriculture and Technology Centre where we have trained 100 youths on the basic agriculture principle,” he said.
According to him, the platform has increased farmers’ productivity in the state, saying that many have been smiling to the banks.
“For instance, typical farmer have two tonnes per hectare of maize but planting the right seeds and following the cropping calendar we taught them, they have increased their yield.
“Farmers’ yield has increased from two tonnes to 10 tonnes. We teach them on how to use technology to be IT surface to be able to go online to check information and to be able to calculate.
“For instance, if you want to do poultry farming, you need to calculate how many feed; water is required so that you won’t run at lost.
“We did the first training free but to make it sustainable, we may ask them to pay token to run generator and to maintain the centre.”
The managing director urged youths to take the different opportunity in agriculture and explore the sub-sector to increase their income and profit.