He expressed the State Government’s commitment to strengthening the partnership with Tomatoes and Vegetable Farmers Association so as to ensure a sustainable production of tomatoes and vegetable in the state.
Fifty-two members of the association in Delta South Senatorial District who benefited from the State Government’s assistance to them under its Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP) attended the inspection ceremony.
Senator Ifeanyi Okowa represented by the Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh, charged them to organize themselves into cooperative groups which would enable them to benefit from the State Government’s micro credit scheme, extension services and other technical aids, assuring them that through hard work they could be exposed to National Farmers’ Day to showcase their produce to the world.
While emphasizing the importance of agriculture in the economic diversification of the state, he added that immediately after his campaign, he implemented the PPSP, an agricultural value chain support programme for existing farmers with emphasis on target priority commodities as vegetable, cassava, palm oil, maize, aquaculture and livestock.
He dismissed the previous belief that tomatoes farming in the south was unproductive, expressing satisfaction that with knowledge tomatoes could produce well in the state.
Governor Okowa commended the State Coordination of Tomatoes and Vegetable Farmers, Hon. Paul Okpue, for his contributions in organizing the farmers.
He branded them as, “those engaged in tomatoes and vegetable agribusiness,” stressing that their enthusiasm and passion for the profession is key to their success.
Earlier, the State Chairman of Tomatoes and Vegetable Farmers’ Association, Mr Joshua Omovigho, expressed their gratitude to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for the spraying cans, fertilizers, seedlings, herbicides and pesticides support package they received from the State Government.
He prayed for a continued partnership with the State Government through the provision of financial assistance and farm inputs, especially to guide against the invasion of their tomatoes farms by the destructive insect called “Tuta Absoluta,” otherwise known as “Tomatoes Ebola.”
Displaying the harvest and produce of the farmers to the Governor, the State Coordinator of Tomatoes and Vegetable Farmers’ Association, Hon. Paul Okpue, noted that while there is lament over the invasion of “Tuta Absoluta” in some parts of the country, Delta State is celebrating the harvest of tomatoes.
He educated the farmers on the preventive measures of the infection, assuring them of the availability of the pesticides to tackle the insect.
He however called on the State Government to provide for them “Jake Irrigation System,” an Isreali innovation to help them farm all-round year and to take advantage of the dry season to ensure adequate supply of tomatoes in the state and high turnover for them.
Speaking separately, Hon Monday Iteheri and Mrs Beauty Inana commended the Delta State Government for the support given to them, advising unemployed youths in the state to embrace agriculture.
The highpoint of the inspection ceremony was the harvesting of tomatoes by the Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa
The Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer was created as a special purpose vehicle for the actualisation of job and wealth creation under the S.M.A.R.T agenda. The job and wealth creation scheme has been tagged OkowaPlus.