By Omolola Pedro
To continue to protect the livelihood of underprivileged and vulnerable farmers, the Oyo State government, through the state’s Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) and its Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) project, has commenced the distribution of farm assets to farmers and Youth Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness Project (YEAP) trainees across the 33 local government areas of the state.
The state government has set up the state N-CARES project with the aim to facilitate the recovery of local economic activity for affected farmers in the state, as part of efforts to protect the livelihoods and enhance food security of poor and vulnerable farmers disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Deputy Coordinator of Oyo State N-CARES Area 2, Mr. Bamigbola Kolawole said that the distribution of farm assets to 140 beneficiaries, which include local and small scale farmers, as well as YEAP beneficiaries, which took place at the Ibarapa North Secretariat Headquarters, Ayete, had to do with ensuring food security in the state, through input and assets distributions for real local farmers across all the 33 local government areas.
He said, “As part of the mandate given to us for meeting the needs of our beneficiaries, we have crops and other assets that we are giving to our beneficiaries in the Ibarapa North, Ayete, where we are this morning, we are here to make assets distribution to our beneficiaries and these assets include cassava grater and presser machines. We have five of these machines here this morning and we are giving these machines to our cassava farmers that have been grouped into five and in each group. We have 10 beneficiaries, which means they are 50 in number and they are going home with the five machines of cassava grater and presser for ‘garri’ processing in this communities.
“We also have groups of farmers, who are into vegetable farming. They are here this morning and they will be going home with a water pumping machine and accessories. This set of farmers are specialised in vegetable farming, and they’re in four groups. We also have 10 beneficiaries in each group and they will collect one pumping machine and accessories each, so they’re 40 beneficiaries going home with 40 pumping machines and accessories. We also have a group of 10 farmers, who are into maize farming; they are going home with a maize thresher machine, this machine will be useful for them after they have harvested their maize, they will use the maize thresher machine for processing and these are our youths that were sponsored to Nasarawa by the state government for training and they are specialised in maize farming.
“Maize thresher machine will surely improve the ease of doing businesses. In another development, we have another set of Nasarawa trainees that will be going home with sprayer and safety kits; all the beneficiaries will be using the items distributed to them to serve themselves and the neighbouring farmers, so they can charge money for doing so, in order to extend and multiply the number of machines given to them, so we expect them to make good use of these items for their own benefit and for the benefit of their entire communities. We also have livestock group of 10 beneficiaries that will be going home with a sheep and a ram, each one of them will be going home with a ram and a sheep because we believed that during COVID-19.
“Some of them lost their stocks, so this is just a palliative measure from the state government for them to start again, just as the crop farmers were given inputs during the rainy season, and they will still be given as we continue with this programme. So, in all, we are having 140 beneficiaries from the Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state here in Ayete. So, the expectation of the state government from the beneficiaries is that we believe these items given to them is a palliative and they are going to use it judiciously for they are real farmers and not political farmers that will sell the items given to them. They are going to use it, as a starting point, to increase their production in their different communities”, Bamigbola said.
At Igboora, the seat of Ibarapa Central Local Government, the Head of Local Government Administration, Mr. Bamigbose Olarenwaju, lauded the Oyo State government for the N-CARES project. “Those that are receiving assets today are 140 beneficiaries because we have divided them into two categories. Some will receive assets while the rest will be supplied with inputs like maize, cassava stem cuttings, fertilizers, and agro-chemicals, as the rain stabilises. We worked with data to identify the real farmers here and these beneficiaries are not political farmers, but real local farmers, as you can see. They are in groups, we have some of them that are into livestock farming, some are into maize farming, while some are into vegetables only. We also have cassava planters and processors amongst them, they are local farmers, even our youths that went for training at Nasarawa state, who are benefitting from this project, have been doing wonderfully well in their various farms.
“We were provided with the list of the registered farmers, as carried out by the extension officers of OYSADA attached to this local government, who have on many occasions, been to their farms for various interventions and support, as well as providing advice to them when necessary. So, these are the genuine farmers in our local government; these people have been on register since three years ago and their biometrics, including facial capturing, are already with the state government”, as he urged beneficiaries, particularly youths, to make use good of the assets and ensure they fulfil the purpose of the programme, as one of the aims of the event was to ensure financial independence.
“The people at OYSADA have really done well by visiting all the local government areas in the state for identification purposes and this really made it easier for us to identify the real farmers and it’s that list that we worked with here and we have been instructed not to consider any other farmers that are not on that list; so we worked with the list provided for us by the state government, so my main advice to the beneficiaries is that government has done its part by providing the assets needed for farm processing. These farm assets items will surely make farming job easier, most especially, for the youths, who are just starting their careers, who should make good use of this opportunity and the items given to them. So, in few years to come, they will be remembering this time for good, for they will also be remembering that Governor Seyi Makinde has been the one that invested in them to be able to stand on their own financially”, Olanrewaju said.