By Francis Ogwo
The Federal Government, through the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORBDA), has launched two integrated farm projects in Okpe and Uneme Nekhua both in Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo.
The integrated farm projects which were launched on Sunday according to reports modelled after the Songhai farm in Porto Novo, Benin Republic which consist of production, processing, research enterprises, integrated crops, fisheries, animal husbandry and marketing.
The Managing Director of BORBDA, Mr Saliu Ahmed, in his remarks said the establishment of the farms was to boost the agricultural sector and to ensure national food security.
According to Ahmed, the two communities would cultivate 100 hectares of farm each while adding that the integrated farm projects had following features: sales point, agro-forestry, market garden, feed mill, cassava and fruit juice processing units, abattoirs, biogas facility, a dormitory and lots more.
He also said: “The Okpe and Uneme Nekhua integrated farms have the potentials to significantly improve the local production of cassava and several other crops, animal feed, poultry, pig, fish production in an integrated manner that ensure nothing goes to waste.
“An improvement in the productivity of the smallholder farmers will translate to improved food security and standard of living in the host communities and beyond,” he said.
Ahmed further noted that the farms would boost the engagement of the youths in the green sector while mending relationships between the government and the people.
“These farms are to be woven around the host communities and a first step towards achieving this will be the sponsorship of select youths of the communities for immersion training in Songhai farm in Porto Novo, Benin Republic.
“These projects which are currently at the clearing stage 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, Peter Akpatason, who represents Akoko Edo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, said the projects were unique and formed part of the vision of the Federal Government to use agriculture for job creation.
Akpatason said that his decision to attract such projects was to encourage the people to take up agricultural activities to empower themselves.
“I decided to bring these projects to my constituent because it is a legacy project that would stand the test of time.
“My advice for the people of my constituent is to make good use of the rare opportunities by embracing the project and support Benin-Owena River Basin to ensure the project is completed in due course,’’ he added.