A Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, Synergos Nigeria, has called on farmers to key into the federal government’s policy drive to take agriculture as a business rather than the old subsistence project.
Its Programme Manager, Mr Victor Adejoh, made the call in a welcome remark to stakeholders and core investors at the second Agricultural Vision Group and Innovative Group meeting in Lokoja, at the weekend.
He said Synergos is currently implementing a project under its State Partnership for Agriculture, SPA, to “facilitate, catalyse and provide linkages for farmers in line with the federal and state governments policies on agriculture”.
Adejoh added that the project focuses on two key crops, cassava and rice, saying Synergos is working through a core delivery team vested with the mandate of ensuring that agriculture becomes a business for farmers and investors.
‘’To this extent, we are working with key investors and development partners who are supporting production and inputs, as well as capacity and training’’, he said, urging farmers to embrace new cassava mechanisation processes.
Mr David Adewumi of African Agriculture Technology Foundation, AATF, and Project Co-ordinator, Cassava Mechanisation Agro-Processing Project, CAMAP, emphasised the need to mechanise the production and processing of cassava to reduce drudgery.
‘’We want to throw all our traditional farming tools to the museum because if you want our youths to engage in farming, you must mechanise and modernise it. We aid small holder cassava farmers in plowing, harrowing and as well, provide planting machines, fertilizer, cultivators and harvesters and bear 50 percent cost of the entire process.
‘’AATF will sign a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with Crest-Agro which can off-take more than 100,000 metric tons of cassava tubers annually.’’
According to him, CAMAP is being executed in three countries comprising Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda, adding that Nigeria has moved from the pilot phase to development phase and it is currently doing about 500 hectares with some farmers in Ogun State.
Managing Director of Crest-Agro products, Mr Dele Ogunlade, said the company had established a factory for the production of food grade cassava starch.
‘’Requirements for the first phase of the factory is about 100,000 metric tons of cassava per year.You can see that our cassava requirement is huge and there is no leaving anybody behind. So the more they produce the better for us,’’ Ogunlade said.
Representatives of key players in the agriculture sector including federal and Kogi ministries of agriculture, the state Agriculture Development Project, ADP, Fadama, chamber of commerce, bureau for public/private partnership among others were in attendance.

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