Senior Agricultural Economist with the World Bank, Dr Adetunji Oredipe, has said that the bank would establish agriculture equipment hiring enterprise centers for cassava famers in Kogi State in order to encourage agricultural mechanisation.
He disclosed this in Lokoja on Wednesday when he led a task team on monitoring visit to FADAMA III additional financing project sites in the state.
Oredipe added that the Fadama Additional Financing project had the mandate of working with cassava farmers to boost production and supply of raw materials to processing plants, with particular respect to cassava industries.
He said as part of key activities of additional financing, the World Bank aimed to make agricultural mechanisation easier for farmers by enhancing their accessibility to equipment through the centers.
“We also have provision for key infrastructure that will enable our cassava farmers to produce well, just as we are going to support high quality inputs. We are also going to support capacity building because if people are in business and don’t know its tenets like simple issues of record keeping, it will be disastrous.
“All of these will be covered and we will also teach them how to remain together as a group and the advantages of social networking,” he said.
Stressing that the body intends to engage scientists as advisory officers, Oredipe added that consultants are to work on the fields with the farmers to boost their yields and enable the attainment of the goals of the project within its lifespan.
While commending the Kogi government for being one of the first to pay its counterpart contribution for the project in 2014, he urged the state (in spite of the pressure on government purse) to strive to pay its 2015 obligation arrears.
He said the payment would enable the state to fully draw down on the $20 million set aside for the state.
The agricultural eonomist said the monitoring visit would among others, enable the team to assess the level of implementation of the work plan and status of activities on the fields.
“At the end of the exercise, we will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with the project officers on how best to improve on what we are doing and foster new relationships in terms of how to move the project forward,” he stressed.

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