When the New Direction administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi State hit the ground running with a determined effort to make Kogi State, the food basket of the nation, a lot of water has passed under the bridge.
The pragmatic Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello came with a message ‘to redirect attention to agriculture in its entirety and empower Kogites in a productive and sustainable manner. This entails agriculture as a business to create wealth and provide employment and keep us as a self-sustaining state that could provide food for the nation.
The agriculture sector which was suffering colossal neglect is being brought into the limelight and harnessed to identify area of comparative advantage, by the present administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
The administration has allowed youth and women participation in agriculture to reduce the alarming unemployment situation in the State and through concerted efforts, the government has encouraged the exportation of agriculture products such as cassava and rice that are in abundance across the length and breadth of the State.
Governor Bello saw the need to ensure a tremendous leap in agriculture, keyed into the Federal Government diversification of economic policy which agriculture is playing a leading role. The State Government declared a state of emergency on agriculture by embarking on a mechanized system of agriculture to ensure food security and boosts massive local production of agriculture products.
In his attempt to deliver on his policy, a resounding legacy in the agricultural sector in the State is going on with innovation yet to be compared.
On the assumption of office by the present administration of Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, they inherited ailing agricultural equipment such as Bulldozers, tractors, low bed grader, excavators. His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello released fund for immediate repair of the equipment. He also released funds for the purchase of accessories for a water pump for irrigation activities.
The agricultural sector can now boldly point to the following achievements:
- 1,000 hectares of land were cleared across the State, Omi, Dekina, Olamaboro, Osara for agricultural production.
- Procurement of 40 Nos 375 Ferguson tractors with complete implements, 3 Nos Mini harvesters, 3 Nos planters, 3 nos boom sprayer, 3 nos rice reaper all procured by the Government of Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello. This geared to increase agricultural production
- The effort of Alhaji Yahaya Bello on rice production project of the State came to be with the launching of confluence rice December last year. The 400 hectares of rice was cultivated at Omi in Ejiba where 50 tons of Rice Milling machines will be commision by the first quarter of the year.
- Fadama II addition financing. The Government has paid her counterpart fund that has made it cultivate 3,000 hectares of rice and over 5,000 hectares of cassava across the State. The Fadama II AF has procured tricycles for farming activities to farmers.
- The Government has awarded the contract to construct Green House to grow vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes using modern technology at Osara by Israeli Company. The construction work has commenced and will be commision by the end of first quarter.
- Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello keyed into the programme by releasing funds to start a pilot programme in Idah, Omi, and Adavi-Ega where 1,000 youths will be empowered through the allocation of earthen ponds. 200 earthen ponds are being constructed at Akpata-Ega in Idah, 250 earthen ponds in Omi and 150 earthen ponds in Adavi-Ega.
The programme intends to create 10,000 jobs for youths on both fish and cassava farming in the State.
- The Government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello took delivery of over 76 trucks of inorganic fertilizer under the Federal Ministry of Agricultural/Kogi State Collaboration and sold to farmers at N5,500 per bag.
- The Kogi State Government were able to assemble 1,500 nos power tillers that will be given to small-scale farmers in the State.
- The Government procure chemicals and seeds, and sold to farmers at a very subsidized rate.
- Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Programme. The Government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello engaged a Consultant that help in identifying farmers for the programme, 1,668 farmers were engaged.
- The consultant on Anchor Borrower Programme has assisted in reliving the inputs supplied to farmers during the last dry season farming.
- The Government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello signed a memorandum of understanding with Niger River Basin Authority to put to use the Omi Dam where 400 hectares of Rice was cultivated.
- The state partnership on agriculture through the effort of Synergos, a Non-Government Organization, has procured cassava milling machine where cassava peels were converted to animal feeds at Ojapata in Ankpa LGAs. Farmers were trained at UCAM Ilorin to carry out the activities at the site in Ojapata.