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Plateau cultivates 6,000 hectares of land for displaced communities

The Plateau Government says it has commenced the cultivation of 6,000 hectares of land ahead of the upcoming farming season to help in resettling communities displaced by crisis.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Samson Bugama, said this on Tuesday in Mangu during the official launch of cultivation for the year.

According to him, the mechanisation Service Provision Intervention” is targeted at communities affected by series of unrest.

He further said that the move also aimed to provide seeds and similar services to cluster of farmers across the state.

Bugama said that the effort would help to improve the state’s agricultural yield and reduce hunger to the barest minimum.

“Today we will be engaging the field, you can see the tractors are ready and so also all the staff of the Agricultural Training Service Centre (ATSC) and Marketing Ltd are equally ready.

“The strategy is to see how we can provide mechanisation services to communities that have been displaced in our quest to return people to their livelihoods that insecurity has denied them.

“Gov. Caleb Mutfwang in his magnanimity has decided that we cultivate 6,000 hectares of land and we will see how we exceed this in the nearest future.

“And we will be providing seeds for those places that have been cultivated so as to bring bumper harvest as we return people to their livelihoods,” he said.

The commissioner also spoke about government’s measures to enaure the safety of the farmers and their crops.

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He said that the Angro Rangers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps would be deployed to provide security for the farmers and their farms.

“As you can see, we have the Agro-Rangers with us, and in those communities they have self-help groups that they setup, which have been providing early warning signals and we are going to utilise them.

“This time around, we are going to ensure that government’s intervention is not wasted, we are setting up a monitoring system.

”We will use modern technology to check incursions into such communities and we will see how we improve the system, moving forward.

“But I must tell you that the governor is bent on ensuring that our people return to their livelihoods.

Government is providing all these services and even the seeds for free,” Bugama said.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of ATSC, Dr Susan Bentu, said that cluster groups, consisting women and youths, would be given top priority.

“This intervention is also for farmers in clusters, like women groups, youth and religious bodies, among others, in the three Senatorial Districts of the state.

“We are set to change the narrative where agriculture is concerned in the state.

“For the senatorial zones, they have their areas of strength, we are going to be cultivating maize and potatoes in Central and Northern zones, rice and yam for the Southern zone.

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“ASTC is a company principally owned by the Plateau Government and we are here for the people of the state,” Bentu said.

She further said that ATSC had been rendering services to the citizenry, not just in the area of mechanised farming during the rainy and dry seasons but other services attached to farmers.

“The green houses we see at the backyards of many homes today are a fallout of ATSC, established over 13 years ago,” she said.

She said that 300 tractors were available for cultivation of land in three centres, situated in each of the senatorial zones of the state. (NAN)

Polycarp Auta
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