Delta hands 760 agric development slots to youths

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…As govt acquires 20 tractors for mechanized agric

By Kasarachi Azuka

Asaba

A total of 760 youths in Delta have been profiled for the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), a special project for the empowerment of youths within the ages of 18 to 35 years in  cluster farmer not less than 100 hectares.

The project is under the Achors Borrowers modeland the maximum loan failicity of the programme is N1 billion.

In the scheme, Delta State is participating in tomatoes and fishery clusters. The 760 youths have been profiled for the tomatoes cluster which would utilize the Green House Technology. Over 500 youths have also been profiled for the fisheries clusters.

Chikezie Austine, commissioner for agriculture made the disclosure when he appeared at the on-going 2018 press inter-ministerial briefing at the ministry of information, Asaba.

The agric boss also disclosed that the state government has approved for the purchase 20 new tractors and implements valued N422,757,600.00.

 He said 14 of the tractors would be sold to farmers and farmers’ cooperative societies in the state at 40 per cent subsidy with seven years pay back plan.

He explained that the remaining six tractors would be allocated to the tractor hire agency of the ministry of agriculture to further boost the agency’s activities.

He said the gesture is part of the efforts of the state to reduce drudgery in agriculture and to encourage mechanized farming in the state which he said would give rise to commercial farming.

He further disclosed that the state has three functional farm settlements namely: Mbiri, Utagba-Uno and Okunigho-Jesse Farm Settlements.

“They are currently inhabited by 319 selected farmers who are predominantly engaged in tree and arable crop production such as oil palm, rubber, cassava, tomatoes, okra and vegetable.

He noted that the ministry of agriculture provides farm inputs for the participants, adding that land rent is paid annually to the state government by each participant.