In preparation for the rainy season to boost food production, no fewer than 60 farmers from the Dangote Cement, Ibese host communities have participated in an empowerment programme that will strengthen their capacity for modern agriculture practice to boost crop production.
The Company management explained that the maiden edition of the empowerment programme was specifically targeted at maize cropping noting that the farmers were taken through the basic rudiments of modern maize farming so as boost yields with the coming rainfall.
Azad Nawabuddin, the Ibese Plant Director, said the programme involved farmers drawn from all the 17 host communities of the cement company and that it was part of the Community Development Agreement signed by both parties recently adding that the company would always be ready to help the people especially farmers in any way possible to boost food production.
The Company boss told the farmers that the cement company in collaboration with some expert consultants mapped out practical training on capacity development on Good Agriculture Practice for soil fertility and to maximize maize cropping.
Besides, the Company he stated would not stop at the level of training but would also support the farmers with farm clearing, distribution of farm inputs such as seeds, herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, agricultural extension as well as the required route to the market.
Giving the modalities for the elected farmers, Nawabuddin explained that to ensure that maximum impact, only farmers whose farm size was not more than one hectare as at the commencement of the programme and who have been in active farming in the last three years, were considered for the project, organized in partnership with an indigenous Agric-support services firm- Midstream Agro.
While explaining the rationale behind the programme, the Plant Director, remarked that the “Ibese Plant host communities are endowed with vast and arable land as well as good climatic condition necessary for sustainable agricultural ventures hence, the Company’s support to the farmers for improved output with greater efficiency”.
He assured that Dangote Cement will continue to offer support to the farmers for the socio-economic transformation of the communities, as spelt out in the CDA, which he promised will be followed to the letter.
Speaking during the close out meeting of the empowerment initiative, Mr. Olumide Oladipupo, the Lead Consultant, Midstream Agro thanked the Company for investing in the development of farmers in its host communities while advocating for more novel initiatives such as the one championed by Dangote Cement.
According to him, “The need for other corporate organizations to join the conscious efforts to drive more people into agriculture across the host communities cannot be over-emphasized as it is one of the most effective ways to reduce unemployment and over-dependence on such companies for survival”.
The beneficiaries took turn to appreciate Dangote Cement Plc for the support. One of the farmers, Mr. Abisekan Idoola of Abule Oke community said that apart from the direct benefit from the programme, it afforded them the platform to cross-fertilize ideas and share best practices, which has helped to greatly improve the performances of their various farms.