1. AGRICULTURAL ACHIEVEMENTS
The State Government has put in place adequate plans to ensure Food Security through the empowerment of existing farmers and encouraging new entrants into Agriculture through the following programmes and projects:
1.1 OIL PALM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME: This scheme is developed to assist Oil Palm farmers to increase their plantations. The programme is ongoing. In year 2016, Two Hundred and Twenty Thousand (220,000) improved oil palm seedlings were raised for distribution to farmers and to cultivate Five Hundred (500) Ha of oil palm plantation. Two Hundred and Fifty (250) Oil Palm farmers were empowered, One Hundred (100) regular jobs and Three Hundred (300) seasonal jobs were created. In addition, an Office and Input Store were constructed at the Ejeme Uno Oil Palm nursery site to support the programme. Also, five (5) mini oil mills were fabricated and distributed to farmers. The year 2016 Oil Palm project was executed at the cost of One Hundred Fifteen Million Naira (N115,000,000.00).
In the year 2017 just ended, the sum of One Hundred and Ninety-Eight Million Naira (N198,000.000.00) was approved for the expansion of the Oil Palm project in reaction to increase in public demand by farmers. Two new nurseries were established at Oleh in Isoko South LGA and Arhagba Okpe, in Okpe LGA in order to bring inputs nearer to the farmers. Currently, One Hundred Thousand (100,000) oil palm seedlings are being raised at each of the Oleh and Arhagba Okpe nurseries respectively. While, 350,000 seedlings are being raised at the nursery in Ejeme-Unor. 400 existing and new farmers would be assisted to increase cultivation by 800 hectares of oil palm plantation in 2018. Also, a block of offices and input stores were constructed at the Oleh and Arhagba-Okpe new nursery sites. This project is expected to create 400 direct jobs and 100 indirect jobs.
2.2 RICE PROGRAMME: In the 2016 rice programme, the sum of Fifty-One Million Naira (N51,000,000.00) was approved and released to promote all season rice farming in the State. 60 beneficiaries were selected, trained and supported in kind and cash. Three (3) Rice Processing Mills were purchased for rice farmers at Obior in Aniocha North, Ikweghwu- Agbarho in Ughelli North and Onicha Ukwani in Ndokwa West Local Government Areas respectively. The programme created 60 direct jobs and 180 indirect jobs.
In Year 2017, the sum of Fifty Million Naira (N50,000,000.00) was approved for Rice development project to further encourage its production. 198 rice farmers benefited. A total of 242Ha of rice farms were cultivated to produce 1,500 metric tonnes of rice.
1.3 2017 TME 419 CASSAVA CUTTINGS MULTIPLICATION AND DISTRIBUTION:
Under the Cassava Cuttings Multiplication and Distribution Programme, sensitization, training, selection of farmers on the new improved TME 419 cassava cuttings was carried out in 2017. A total of 119 participants were trained Statewide. So far, only 53 beneficiaries from Delta North Senatorial District have been empowered with 3,017 cassava cuttings.
1.4 FISHERIES: In its determination to maintain the tempo of Aquaculture Development in the State, two (2) fish farm clusters were established at Ewulu in Aniocha South and Mbiri in Ika North East Local Government Areas respectively. A total of 80 ponds were constructed at the clusters. Currently, 50 participants are engaged by the programme. In the first cycle of production, 60 metric tonnes of fish were harvested. The ponds are being prepared for stocking with fingerlings to commence the second cycle. The project has generated 50 direct jobs and 70 indirect jobs.
1.5 The CBN ANCHOR BORROWERS SCHEME (CBN – ABS)
This scheme is a financial model for small holder farmers in Oil Palm, Rice, Cassava and Fish. It is designed to increase production and supply raw materials to food processors, through this scheme, qualified commodity out growers are assisted to identify an anchor firm (Off taker / processor) and supported with loans at 9% interest rate by the CBN to increase their farm holdings. High quality imputs and technical assistance are also provided for them. In achieving the above, over Sixty Thousand (60,000) farmers have been registered across the selected enterprises of Cassava, Oil Palm, Rice and Fisheries. However, about Four Thousand (4,000) farmers have been fully accredited and approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to participate in the first phase of the programme. For the avoidance of doubt, farmers are expected to own verifiable farm sites, to open an account with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and to provide their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN). Certified input suppliers and reliable off-takers have been screened and selected for the execution of the programme. CBN has set aside Two Billion Naira to implement this programme in the State in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bank of Agriculture.
1.6 ACCELERATED AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME (AADS)
The State Government has given approval for our participation in the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) which is a special project for the empowerment of youth within the ages of 18-35 years in cluster farms not less than 100 Hectares, under the Anchors Borrowers Programme. The maximum loan facility of this programme is one Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira. In this scheme, Delta State is participating in tomatoes and fishery clusters. A total of 760 youths have been profiled for the tomatoes cluster which will utilize the Green House Technology. Over 500 youths have also been profiled for the fisheries clusters in aquaculture.
1.7 NIGERIA INCENTIVE-BASED RISK-SHARING SYSTEM FOR NIGRIA LENDING (NIRSAL)
In another development, the State Government has also given approval for the State’s participation in the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing system for Nigeria Lending (NIRSAL). NIRSAL is a central Bank of Nigeria Project with a Public-Private initiative design to appropriately define, price and share agriculture business related credit risk. It attracts private sector finance to Agriculture. The State is Keying into NIRSAL supported projects in Oil Palm plantation development. Negotiations with interested Commercial Banks is still on-going
1.8 LAND DATA BANK: The Ministry through advocacy to the Local Government Councils, Community Leaders and Traditional Rulers has acquired three thousand, eight hundred and fifty hectares (3,850ha) of farmland to facilitate the ease of doing agricultural business in Delta State. The State Land Acquisition Committee is handling the documentations of the donated land.
1.9 EXTENSION SERVICES: Since the inception of this Administration, the extension arm of the Ministry has attracted a lot of support and re-organisation from the government to reposition and strengthen its capacity for effective service delivery. Extension Agents and Block Supervisors were trained and equipped with working materials such as motorcycles. A new Management Board was constituted for it last year. The name was changed from the State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) to Delta Agricultural & Rural Development Authority (DARDA) to reflect the true nature of its activities which are rurally oriented. In year 2017, the sum of 150 Million to further strengthen its capacity.
1.10 VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES:
The State Government through the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry has effectively prevented and controlled animal diseases in the State. Last year and early this year, there were confirmed incidents of outbreak of the deadly Avian Influenza Virus popularly known as Bird Flu at Okpanam, Ogwashi-Uku, Okwe, Agbor and Boji Boji-Owa in the State. The spread of the Bird Flu was quickly arrested and stamped out.
Over Four Thousand (4000) doses of Rabies Vaccine were purchased to vaccinate at least Four Thousand dogs across the Twenty-Five (25) Local Government Areas of the State in the 2017 Rabies Vaccination Campaign Programme at the cost of Four Million Naira (N4,000,000.00).
1.11 CELEBRATION OF WORLD FOOD DAY:
The year 2017 World Food Day which has the theme “Change the Future of Migration. Invest in Food Security and Rural Development” was successfully celebrated on 16th November.
The event which attracted farmers from the 25 Local Government Areas of the State afforded them the opportunities to interact, showcase their products/produce and cart away various prizes.
In line with the National Agricultural Policy, the major focus of the Agricultural Sector is not direct food production but agricultural service delivery to improve farmers’ productivity thereby the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State and also to increase farmers’ income and improve their standard of living. Therefore, our activities are more of indirect revenue generation. However, in year 2017, the sum of Twenty-Seven Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty-Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-One Naira, Seventy-Eight Kobo (N27,922,331.78) was generated as revenue against approximately Twenty Million (N20,000,000.0) which was generated in 2016. This increase is due to the re-organization of the mech