PLATEAU State is blessed with a
fertile land and a very accommodating
weather while over 40 percent of the
state population is a farming. Plateau
is also unique in agriculture, because
every crop can be grown in the state.
But not every crop grown in Plateau
can be farmed in other states. The
state governor, Simon Lalong, vowed
to support farmers in the state in
order to boost the food production in
the state.
The governor also recently
distributed bags of fertilisers to farmers
in the seventeen local government
of the state. Crops grown in Plateau
include Irish potatoes, vegetables,
rice, yam, maize tomatoes, cotton,
sweet potatoes, amongst other crops.
Recently, the Plateau Agricultural
and Development Programme, PADP,
organised a pre-season training
workshop for farmers as raining sets
in. The workshop which took place in
Pankshin had in attendance farmers
from the seventeen local governments
of the state.
Declaring the event open,
Commissioner for Agriculture and
Rural Development, Mrs Lynda Barau,
expressed the readiness of the present
administration in taken agriculture to
the next level in the state. According
to her, government is working on
some interventions that would boost
agricultural production in the state.
‘’We are all aware that for the past
eight years training of this kind was not
organised for farmers in this state, and
holding it today shows our commitment
towards boosting agricultural activities.
We are working on some interventions
which will come alongside modern
facilities that will help our farmers
grow crops and animal alike in the
scientific way.
‘’I want to assure you that, the era
of syphoning of materials meant for
farmers is gone, so each registered
farmer will get any intervention meant
for them directly; no middle men,’’ she
Also speaking at the event,
Management Committee Chairman,
Pankshin Local Government, Mr
Stephen Jings urged farmers to take
advantage of the training to better
agricultural activities in the state. He
expressed optimism that the present at
all levels is posed towards developing
the agricultural sector with a view of
diversifying the economic fortunes of
the country.
‘’There is no need we Nigerian
importing food when we have the land
mass and the fertile soil to make our
country rich and independent interms of
agricultural production. I’m optimistic
that with the way governments at all
levels is talking about agriculture, soon
our farmers will be richer than some
civil servants,” he said. In his welcome address, programme
manager of PADP, Mr Philip Gonap
said the training was geared towards
preparing farmers for up coming 2016
farming season. He added that training
would also enable farmers explore
modern knowledge in boosting their
agricultural activities with a view of
making more yields and increasing the
revenue profile of the state.
‘’This training is aimed at preparing
the minds of our great farmers to the
upcoming raining season. The Nigerian
Meteorological Agency, NIMET, in its
2016 prediction announced that this
year’s rains will not only start early but
will also cease early. This then means
that we need to be proactive and focus,
else we will miss the season.
‘’So, to achieve this, we feel farmers
must come together to brainstorm and
educate each other so as to make Plateau
agriculturally great again,’’ he said.
In her remarks, chairman of All
Farmers Association in Plateau, Mrs
Sarah Chuwang commended the effort
of the present government of Simon
Lalong in trying to rejuvenate economic
fortunes of the state via agriculture.
Represented by chairman, Potato
Farmers Association, Mr. Emmanuel
Shipi, Chuwang added that farmers were
ready to cooperate with government
in actualising its dreams of improving
agricultural activities in the state.
In a related manner, Governor Lalong
recently pledged more support for
the Fadama 111 Additional Financing
programme aimed at reducing the
poverty level and increased food
production in the state. Governor
Lalong made the pledge when he
received the World Bank Task Team
leader of Fadama III in his off in Jos. He
said the “focus of this administration
is to support agriculture and partner
with any organisation or institution
to help farmers. “Agriculture plays an
important role in supporting growth,
creating Jobs, food security and
reducing poverty. It is a change and
transformation agent.
“To grow the agricultural sector and
facilitate job creation, our government
will work to provide road, water and
electricity, which are infrastructure
needed for the sector to grow”.
Lalong also pledged to invest
in training and education for
agriculture, particularly the training
of extension officers and revive the
Plateau Agricultural Development
Programme, PADP, to continue
with its acclaimed role of foremost
agricultural extension agency, as well
as Plateau Agricultural Mechanization
Agency, PAMA.
“We shall establish and revive farm
centres in the three geo political
zones in the state in addition to
resuscitating the Panyam Fish farm,
Bokkos Farm project and encourage
young people to go into farming
through some funding incentives like
setting up Agricultural Trust Fund
for agricultural priority projects and
mechanization techniques among
others”, he said.
The governor also said his
administration would reintroduce
agricultural shows in the state
and trade fairs and he would also
partner with private sector to explore
possibilities of building storage
facilities in the three senatorial zones
of the state with the view of keeping
perishable products all year round.
He also said that “His administration
will ensure that rural development is
pursued vigorously to curb migration
to urban areas, given that over 40
percent of the populace of the state
are rural dwellers that cultivate about
40 percent of the land mass, they also
constitute bulk of the electorates that
deserve the dividends of democracy”.
Similarly, the centre for
biotechnology and genetic engineering
of the University of Jos and the
Plateau State government recently
expressed willingness to partner with
farmers in the state to boost food
production in the country. Speaking
on the occasion of the 3rd Farm Fair
held in Bokkos Local Government
area of the state, the vice chancellor of
UNIJOS, Prof. Hayward Mafuyai, who
was represented by the director of the
centre Prof. Timothy Namo said the
fair was aimed at fostering a working
relationship with farmers. He said the
fare was also to showcase to the world
the rich bio resource potentials of
plateau state and help researchers to
develop proposals aimed at tackling
problems encountered by farmers.

READ ALSO  Restoring Abia’s industrial city of Aba