The beneficiaries trained in rice cultivation, production and processing were established in a 74 hectare farmland and allotted 2 hectares per YAGEPreneur.
Addressing the beneficiaries, the State Governor, Senator, (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, stated that with a 3 metric tons deficit supply in Nigeria, rice is one of the priority commodities in the YAGEP initiative, noting that rice cultivation has short life cycle, but has with very high market potentials.
He said he was confident that the YAGEP entrepreneurs having undergone intensive orientation programme, training in life skills and a 3 month internship with Raymos Guanah’s Farms have the capacity to breach the gap, forecasting that the cluster would be making a presentation of YAGEP rice to the Governor in the next four months.
Governor Okowa assured them that, “they have been provided with a suitable environment to establish their own enterprises, have a business incubation and to run a rice farm enterprise on their own, supported by a full package starter pack.”
Represented by the State Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof Eric Eboh, he said each beneficiary was provided with leased 2 hectares of land suitable for rain-fed rice cultivation; mechanized land preparation, ploughing and harrowing; certified farrow 44 long grain seeds; mechanized planting of seeds; 6 inorganic fertilizers, Urea and NPK; herbicides and bird repellants at fruiting stage, applied through mechanical methods.
Other items included a tarpaulin; 100 harvesting bags; a stainless basin; brooms; parkers; mechanized harvesting of paddy (tractor-operated); mechanized threshing and winnowing; monthly stipend for 6 months and a micro credit with a moratorium of 6 months, 9% interest rate and repayable within 12 months and technical assistance throughout the production cycle.
While congratulating them as pioneer beneficiaries of State Government-supported rice production in the state, he disclosed that at the end of the production cycle, the rice will be branded, “Delta YAGEP Rice.”
He advised them to organize themselves into cooperative societies so as to benefit from government’s micro credit and grants to farmers as well as aids from international donor agencies who want to support agriculture in Nigeria.
On his own part, the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Austin Chikezie, represented by his Special Adviser, Honourable Pius Okonjo, reiterated the State Government’s commitment to developing the agricultural sector in the state, especially rice production.
He added that the State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, is fulfilling his promise of prosperity for all Deltans through support for agriculture.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment, Honourable Sunny Ozeghe and the State Anchor on Rice Production, Honourable Raymos Guanah, enjoined the beneficiaries to use the opportunity provided by the State Government to achieve greatness and to make the state proud.
They emphasized that the starter pack provided is a total package that could generate at least 3.5 tons per hectare, pointing out that the investment if sustained will make Nigeria sufficient in rice production.
In their separate remarks, Godgift Edafetita (Ethiope East LGA) and Chukwurah Edozie (Oshimili South LGA) expressed their gratitude to the State Government for the job creation initiative, pledging to work hard to uphold the vision and mission of the programme.