Ogun State Government says its partnership with European Union and German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) on tomato and chilli peppers is a huge success as the 3,000 trained farmers have been making tremendous income.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina made this submission during an inspection tour to some of the beneficiaries in their farms at Kere and Owowo Farm Estate in Ewekoro Local Government Area.
It is noteworthy that the Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP), was launched in Abeokuta by the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun in March 2020, is part of the Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme-SEDIN by European Union and German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), where he approved free allocation of land for participants in the tomato and chili project.
Dr. Odedina described the project as a fulfilment of the Governor’s promises to empower 3,000 young farmers in tomato and chilli production through training, linkage, input and other support programmes with the use of technology so they can cultivate and produce the vegetables all year round.
“This is our goal in Ogun State for young people to make money from tomato, chilli and its value-chain opportunities. So, they have been assisted with training, linkage, input among others and we are here to celebrate the success of the Tomato and Chilli Pepper Empowerment Project (TOMAPEP). We have 3,000 trained farmers across the State who will in turn train five others each with the use of technology, so they can grow tomatoes all year round”, he submitted.
The Special Senior Assistant on Agriculture, Dr. (Mrs.) Angel Adelaja-Kuye said the beneficiaries were grouped into 73 clusters and the clusters were formed into cooperatives, thereby operating as one body, while some of them have learnt agro processing, assuring that they would be assisted with access to irrigation and other financial aids.
Dr. Adelaja-Kuye described the success story as the power of partnership that has enabled the farmers to learn the best agricultural practices with business mentality and linkage with off-takers and ready extension officers working with them.
In his submission, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dotun Sorunke expressed satisfaction that the farmers were actively practising what they have learnt and making good profits from it, promising that the training will be extended to other interested youths, especially through Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP).
Speaking, the beneficiary at Kere village, Mr. Emmanuel Ajao and his counterpart at Owowo Farm Estate, Patricia Martins lauded the State government and GIZ for the training which had empowered and turned them to successful farmers, calling on other youths to embrace agriculture and make a living from it.
Meanwhile, the European Union and German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) have commended the Ogun State Government for the financial linkage and support for 3,000 farmers who have grown tomatoes successfully.
The commendation was given recently at a strategic retreat between GIZ-NICOP and the State government for improved tomato and chili production held in Abuja, aimed at deepening the partnership and mutual coordination existing between them.
Other achievements that brought about the commendation include, allocation of over 50 hectares of tomato and pepper farmland to trained farmers across the 20 Local Government Areas, grouping the farmers into 73 clusters across the State, 320 million increased income for beneficiaries; 144 percent increase of jobs and distribution of 100 million improved tomato seeds to farmers.
Other feats recorded are delegation of Extension Agents who trained lead farmers that stepped down the training to 2,567 other beneficiaries, and training of over 200 farmers on Solar Irrigation System.