Crisis-Affected Communities Get Plateau Government’s Major Mechanised Farming Intervention

In a significant move to support conflict-affected communities, the Plateau State Government has commissioned the Agricultural Service and Training Center and Marketing Limited (ASTC) to cultivate 6,000 hectares of farmland across the state’s three senatorial districts. This initiative, led by the Ministry of Agriculture, aims to revitalize local farming communities that have faced severe disruptions due to ongoing conflicts.

At the official launch of the mechanization service provision intervention, Plateau State Governor, Barrister Caleb Mutfwang, emphasized the importance of this initiative in addressing the food shortages and high prices caused by insecurity. Speaking at ASTC Mangu Local Government Area, Governor Mutfwang highlighted the state’s commitment to returning displaced persons to their livelihoods and ensuring food security.

Hon. Samson Ishaku Bugama, the Plateau State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, underscored the strategic importance of this intervention. “Today, we engage the field with ready tractors and staff,” Bugama stated. “Our strategy is to provide mechanization services to displaced communities, aiming to restore their livelihoods disrupted by crisis. This intervention covers 6,000 hectares and includes providing seeds to ensure a bountiful harvest.”

Addressing concerns about the safety of the farmlands, Bugama mentioned the deployment of agro rangers and the establishment of self-help groups for early warning signals. “We are implementing a monitoring system using drones to safeguard these investments and ensure they are not wasted,” he added.

The initiative is expected to have a significant impact on reducing food prices. “Governor Mutfwang’s interventions over the past year have been deliberate in boosting food production,” Bugama noted. “By focusing on the major food-producing belts of Plateau, we aim to increase the volume of food, thereby addressing the hunger problem.”

The services provided under this program are free for the affected communities. “The state government has covered all costs,” Bugama confirmed. “Our immediate concern is the resettlement and return to livelihoods, with the long-term goal of promoting commercial farming.”

Dr. Susan Bentu, Managing Director and CEO of ASTC, expressed gratitude to Governor Mutfwang for approving the mechanized cultivation intervention. She outlined the comprehensive plan for the cultivation, which will span four weeks and cover various zones in Plateau State. “In the Northern Zone, we will cultivate areas including Jol (Riyom), Sho (B/Ladi), Wereng & Kwi (Riyom), and more. The Central Zone will see activities in Mangu, Pankshin, Bokkos, and others, while the Southern Zone will focus on Wase River, Shendam Dam, and additional areas.”

Bentu detailed the crops targeted in each zone, with maize and potatoes in the Central and Northern Zones, and rice in the Southern Zone. “ASTC is a household name, not just in Plateau State but across Nigeria. We support farmers of all scales, from small-scale to large-scale operations,” she said. “Our services, including mechanization, are designed to enhance food production and empower farmers.”

Looking ahead, Bentu emphasized the sustainability of ASTC’s efforts. “We aim to raise self-sufficient farmers who are financially stable and capable of providing food for the populace. This initiative aligns with our vision and the state’s mission of ensuring a green and prosperous Plateau.”

The response from the communities has been overwhelmingly positive. “Last year, we covered 900 hectares; this year, we are tripling our scope,” Bentu noted. “This intervention reduces production costs for farmers and directly benefits them, empowering those at the grassroots.”

The Plateau State Government’s farming intervention marks a crucial step towards rebuilding conflict-affected communities and enhancing food security. With strong leadership from Governor Mutfwang and effective implementation by ASTC, the state is poised to see a significant boost in agricultural productivity and community resilience.

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Crisis-Affected Communities Get Plateau Government’s Major Mechanised Farming Intervention

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About The Author
- Friday Bako is Certified National Accountant (CNA), Blogger, Social Media Influencer/Strategist, Youth Activist and Advocate for good governance.

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