Nigeria: US Embassy team visits Agbeyewa farm in Ekiti

Tribune | 21 February 2024

US Embassy team visits Agbeyewa farm in Ekiti

by Yomi Ayeleso

The Charge D’Affaires and Acting Ambassador of the United States in Nigeria, David Greene, have visited Agbeyewa farm in Ekiti state, stating that Nigeria is blessed with a series of agricultural potential which he said are underutilized.

Greene spoke during his visit alongside the US Consul General, Will Stevens, to the expansive 15,000 hectares of Agbeyewa farm in Ipao-Ekiti, Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti state, a private initiative of Cavista Holdings.

The diplomat explained that the US government, in the last few years, has invested in the development of agriculture to enhance food security in the country, especially Ekiti state. He added that farmers must be encouraged to go to the farm and reduce their post-harvest losses.
He commended the chairman of Cavista Holdings, John Olajide, for his commitment and dedication to the development of agriculture with the investment in Cassava, Yam, and Maize on the farm. He called on the people to support the initiative in the interest of the community.

Greene added that if Nigeria wants to bolster food security and fast-track socioeconomic prosperity, governments at all levels and Nigerians must leverage the existing productive potentials in the agricultural sector.

He called on the federal government to take a cue from the Agbeyewa Farms, which has greatly tapped into the economic potentials of large-scale agriculture to create value, boost food security, create jobs, and drive economic growth and development.

According to him, “It is quite an amazing farm, and we are aware of the food insecurity and post-harvest losses, with incredible agricultural potential in Nigeria but underutilized.”

“But with what we have seen on this farm and the investment, this can help to change the lives of Nigerians. The United States will do a lot in this sector. Don’t forget we have investments in Ikun Dairy farm, Cocoa production in Ekiti, and the rest.”

“We are focused on our commitment to end the agricultural challenges in Nigeria. We need to work more to ensure that people benefit more from exports and revolutionize the economy.”

“We have seen the maize, cassava, and yam potential on the farm, and we will follow up to come back and see how the lives of the citizens of Nigeria will benefit through agriculture.”

The chairman of Cavista Holdings, John Olajide, said the investment in the farm by his company was to boost the productivity of the farmers and create jobs in the state.

He said the company was determined to boost the capacity of the farmers by providing them with enhanced sidling and reduce post-harvest losses towards penetrating the market.

He said that the multi-million naira agro-allied firm was also committed to empowering farmers to realize higher yields through various strategic interventions towards boosting their production capacity.

Olajide said, “Agbeyewa farm is meant to create value and transform lives. The main reason why we invested in Ekiti state is to create jobs and create opportunities for a lot of people.”

“We are doing experiments here with Cassava to help farmers improve their yields. Those sidlings were given to the farmers to improve their lives, and we incorporated the farmers into our outgrowers in our farm and do up to ten hectares and get a better yield.”

“One important thing is farmers struggle with access to the market. We are working on the early stage of the cassava revolution in partnership with the state government where we will get at least 100 hectares of cassava cultivated in the state. It will reduce over 60 percent post-harvest loss, our goal is to eliminate post-harvest loss so that Ekiti farmers can create wealth through farming.”

“So far, we have over 400 people working daily. Our goal is to employ thousands of people and if we could not employ them, they can work as outgrowers in our ecosystem, and everything they produce, we will buy. Economic investment is key to ending insecurity in our land.”

On his part, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food security, Ebenezer Boluwade, commended the huge investment on the farm, reiterating the commitment of the Biodun Oyebanji administration to collaborate with investors to boost food security.

“We are partnering with private individuals and organizations for investment in agriculture to help our farmers achieve productivity and ensure food security in the state and the country.”

“What the administration of Governor Biodun Oyebanji is doing is to clear lands for cluster farming. What it will do is to replicate what you are seeing here. We are not taking over the lands but clearing it for the productivity of our farmers for economic growth and development,” he said.
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