The Edo State Government has commenced the process of empowering 500,000 poultry farmers through training and partnership for better output. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in collaboration with Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited and Heifer International, Nigeria has begun the training of poultry farmers on international best practices in poultry production.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Stephen Idehenre, while declaring the training exercise open at the Agricultural Development Project (ADP) premises in Benin City, said that the initiative is in line with the promise the State Government made in December 2022, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two international companies: Heifer International and Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited, to boost the poultry value chain development in Edo State.
He disclosed that the programme will be hosted across the three (3) senatorial districts of the State to equip poultry farmers with relevant skills and provide them the opportunity to “Farm to Bank,” which will lead to more income for farmers. He assured the farmers that the State Government will continue to give priority attention to farmers in every part of the State.
The Commissioner stated that the State Government will not relent in its drive to remove farmers in the State from poverty through various agricultural reforms. He said these reforms over time have restored the sense of belonging to many farmers in the State who previously could not recognise the efforts of government.
According to him, the State Government is following the economics of production to provide funding for farmers through a farm model where the State Government provides twenty percent, the investor twenty percent, the bank fifty-five percent, while the farmers provide five percent as a mark of commitment in the farming business.
Mr. Idehenre noted that the State Government has provided a boost in fish farming with the introduction of Pangasius fish species, adding that maize farmers no longer make losses from market instability as their products can be sold and used as raw materials for the production of animal feeds by Prime Feeds and Flour Mill in Ewu, Edo State. He added that by the end of November, 2023, over 2,000 metric tons of cassava will be harvested by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in partnership with three (3) major dealers who will buy-off several hectares of cassava from farmers across the State.
During the training of over 230 Poultry farmers, the Programme Coordinator – Livestock, Heifer International, Nigeria, Mrs. Onyekachi Ayevbuomwan, said that each farmer will sign a natnuPreneur agreement after being profiled, their poultry facility inspected and their enrollment into the natnuPreneurship scheme completed. She added that the target weight for the poultry before offtake from a trained farmer is 1.8kg and above.
Mrs. Ayevbuomwan thanked the Edo State Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security for their support and tireless efforts aimed at improving the livelihood of poultry farmers in the State. She added that the training is strictly business and not a medium for handouts or sharing of birds as many had in mind. She encouraged the participants to be open-minded to enable them to learn the best practices in poultry farming