The Ebonyi State Government is to partner over 50,000 farmers this year to boost agriculture and improve its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
Governor David Umahi, who made this known when he received in audience, a team from an international group, Zero Hunger Forum, in Abakaliki on Friday, added that 8,000 civil servants would benefit from the FADAMA 3 programme.
The governor expressed gratitude to the leader of the Zero Hunger Forum and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, for being part of the global efforts to end hunger in 2030, and assured that his administration would give full support to the team.
Giving a run down of some efforts made by his administration to eradicate hunger in the state, Umahi,said,”IFAD injected over N4 billion into the society by reason of empowering over 6,000 farmers, which of course we supported the farmers by way of standing in for them in their 50 % equity contribution.
“Through direct funding, over 15,000 farmers were funded directly by the state government. That is to me stomach infrastructure.
“So this year,we are targeting over 50,000 farmers to partner with and to see how we can begin to eradicate hunger in Ebonyi State”.
On civil servants,Governor Umahi,said,” We want to marry them together and we have started the process of borrowing N1 billion from the banks and then to use it to pay the counterpart funding of FADAMA 3 of our civil servants. So we are targeting 8,000 civil servants that will benefit from this N1 billion in a way of counterpart funding on FADAMA 3 programmes.
“Our idea is that our civil servants who are interested should be able to go to work on Mondays,Tuesdays and Wednesdays and on Thursdays,Fridays,Saturdays, they should go to farm and then be able to work through this programme”.
Umahi,however,noted that,Ebonyi State would depend largely on the assistance of the Zero Hunger Team in the area of seed certification and knowledge transfer to attain its desired height in the area of agriculture.
The governor who heads one of the committees for the successful implementation of the zero hunger project commended the programme initiators for choosing Ebonyi as one of the pilot states in Nigeria.
Earlier,the leader of the team,Dr.Kenton Dashiel,had explained that they were in the state to find out how Zero hunger forum could add value to the agric policy of the state government.
He commended governor Umahi,for his agricultural revolution in the state,which he said,has assisted in great measure towards ensuring food security in the country.
The highlight was a point presentation by the Zero hunger team on how to improve crop yields in the state.