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HomeNewsPlateau Govt cultivates 6,000 hectares of land for displaced communities

Plateau Govt cultivates 6,000 hectares of land for displaced communities

The Plateau State Government in its efforts to resettle communities displaced by crisis across the state, has commenced cultivation of 6,000 hectares of land for the upcoming farming season.

It also said it would provide seeds to farmers across the state in order to improve agricultural yield and reduce hunger to the barest minimum.

This was disclosed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Samson Bugama while flagging off the cultivation of six thousand hectares of land particularly for displaced communities in the state, held in Mangu LGA.

He said the intervention, tagged, ‘Mechanisation Service Provision Intervention’, was targeted at communities affected by unrest and cluster groups across the state.

“Today we will be engaging the field, you can see the tractors are ready and so also all the staff of the Agric Training Service Centre and Marketing Ltd (ASTC) are equally ready.

“The strategy is to be able to see how we can provide mechanisation services to communities that have been displaced in our quest to see how we return people to their livelihoods that the crisis has taken out of the place they understand and do business.

“Governor Caleb Mutfwang in his magnanimity has decided that we engage about six thousand hectares of land, we will see how we can exceed six thousand hectares across the state.

“And we will be providing seeds for those places that have been cultivated; so that we will see how we will bring bumper harvest as we return people to their livelihoods,” he explained.

According to him, “Our priority is to start with communities that are displaced. But as much as resources allow us, we will be able to extend to the other communities; but our major goal is the resettlement of displaced communities to their livelihoods.”

On the safety of the farmers and their crops, Bugama said, “As you can see now we have the Agro-Rangers with us, and in those communities they have self-help groups that they have setup, that give early warning signals for those kinds situations, that we are going to utilise.

“This time around, we are going to ensure that government’s intervention is not wasted, we are setting a monitoring system, where we use modern technology to check incursions into such communities and we will see how we improve the system moving forward.

“But I must tell you that Governor Caleb Mutfwang is bent on ensuring that our people return back to their livelihoods. All these services government is providing are free and the seeds are also going to be free.”

Dr. Susan Bentu, Managing Director and CEO of ASTC, expressed gratitude to Governor Mutfwang for approving the mechanized cultivation intervention. She outlined the comprehensive plan for the cultivation, which will span four weeks and cover various zones in Plateau State. “In the Northern Zone, we will cultivate areas including Jol (Riyom), Sho (B/Ladi), Wereng & Kwi (Riyom), and more. The Central Zone will see activities in Mangu, Pankshin, Bokkos, and others, while the Southern Zone will focus on Wase River, Shendam Dam, and additional areas.”

Bentu detailed the crops targeted in each zone, with maize and potatoes in the Central and Northern Zones, and rice in the Southern Zone. “ASTC is a household name, not just in Plateau State but across Nigeria. We support farmers of all scales, from small-scale to large-scale operations,” she said. “Our services, including mechanization, are designed to enhance food production and empower farmers.”

Looking ahead, Bentu emphasized the sustainability of ASTC’s efforts. “We aim to raise self-sufficient farmers who are financially stable and capable of providing food for the populace. This initiative aligns with our vision and the state’s mission of ensuring a green and prosperous Plateau.”

The response from the communities has been overwhelmingly positive. “Last year, we covered 900 hectares; this year, we are tripling our scope,” Bentu noted. “This intervention reduces production costs for farmers and directly benefits them, empowering those at the grassroots.”

The Plateau State Government’s farming intervention marks a crucial step towards rebuilding conflict-affected communities and enhancing food security. With strong leadership from Governor Mutfwang and effective implementation by ASTC, the state is poised to see a significant boost in agricultural productivity and community resilience.

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