Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has launched the Edo Food and Agriculture Cluster (Edo-FAC), kick-starting a knowledge-driven food sufficiency plan, involving over 200 farmers in Ehor, Uhunmwode Local Government Area, with the full complement of an agricultural training centre in the area.

Speaking at the launch, the governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Osaro Idah, said the cluster will address the challenges faced by farmers in the area, noting that the state government is committed to exploiting agriculture and providing avenues to train farmers to boost their knowledge, improve their farm yields and enhance their livelihood.

According to him, the state government is keen in ensuring that farmers get the best of tools and training required to derive more gains from farming, on and off the farm, as the Universal Basic Education Commission’s (UBEC) Vocational Training Centre in Ehor, has been repurposed to provide top-of-the-range training and extension services to farmers.

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Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Skills Development and Job Creation, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, said the Edo-FAC is a composite centre that has the full complement of an Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness Development Centre, Food and Agricultural Products Centre, Centre for Agricultural Communications and Agronomy and Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Fabrication.

She explained that a lot of thinking was put into re-purposing the centre, noting that the various arms of Edo-FAC will be streamlined to provide adequate training to the over 200 farmers in the area.

“What we have here is a one-stop shop for agricultural needs. We have far-reaching partnerships with players in the agricultural sector to provide the essential services needed to drive this centre.

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“As part of the cluster, we have a farmers’ market, where farm produce will be traded. There is also the food processing centre that will ensure farmers produce do not go to waste, thereby minimising losses and creating more wealth in the community,” she said.

Meanwhile, pensioners in Edo State have saluted Obaseki’s courageous move to clear all the pension arrears he inherited.

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The commendations are coming as screening and payment of state and local government retirees progress across the state.

Mrs. Osakue Ebosele, a retiree said, “We senior citizens of Edo State are praying for Obaseki for giving our welfare priority attention.

“Since I left service, this is the first administration that has not subjected us to embarrassing treatments. We no longer protest for our entitlements to be paid.

“He is even paying pension arrears he inherited, some dating back to the 1990s and early 2000.”