(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Rice farmers in Kogi State are the lucky beneficiaries of incentives from the Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support, APPEALS, which has commenced the free distribution of agro -allied incentives, with the flag off of the scheme in communities in Lokoja, where 697 rice farmers are expected to benefit from the incentives.
N633 million has been earmarked to benefits women and rice farmers spread over a 1780 hectares of land across the state.The initiative is targeted at empowering rice farmers in the forthcoming farming season with the capacity to ensure food security, not just at the community level, but for the country in general.
APPEALS project has development objectives for the enhancement of small and medium scale farmers and also support their value addition. The initiative has identified the real farmers, mapped out their land and with a view to encouraging them to take advantage of the grant to support their farming.The first phase is starting with rice farmers because of the farming calendar. Rice will come next, followed by cassava and then cashew.
For the rice farmers first, 1780 hectates of land have been mapped out for rice production this farming season alone in Kogi state, and a total of 633 million naira will be used to fund the ‘Value Chain Investment Plan’, VCIP, to be used by the farmers.
Some of the input being distributed include, certified improved rice seed obtained from national seed (faro 44) council, alongside pre-emergence and post emergence chemicals, chemical sprayers and protective kit for farmers.
The farmers were able to start land preparation through APPEALS’ collaboration with ministry of agriculture for the use of tractors. So far, the organization has cleared and harrow over 500 hectares of land for rice cultivation and it is still on going, coupled with the procurement of over 25,000 litres of chemicals ,50,000 kg of rice seedlings, 690 chemical sprayers which will be distributed to farmers in their farm and the items are branded not for sale.
The aim of the grant is to enable farmers grow so that they can be source of employment to others, since they are not paying back the money.
APPEALS will continue to support them on production, processing and marketing, and continue to allien with the state government policy on agriculture.