Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has advised farmers in the state to venture into massive cultivation of watermelon to enhance their income.
Ortom gave the advice on Thursday in Makurdi during the flag off of distribution of improved seedlings and crops to farmers.
He pointed out that watermelon had a very high opportunity of assisting them to enhance their income than most of the crops they usually cultivated.
“The income farmers will get from watermelon will be higher than yam and other crops.
“This is premised on the fact that watermelon is consumed globally and based on the experiment that we had done two years ago, watermelon will do well in the state,” he said.
The governor further said that 9,844 farmers from each of the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state would benefit from the programme.
“The following seedlings will be shared to them, 230 bags of maize, 4,666 bags of rice, 690 bags of watermelon seeds and 10, 000 improved stems of cassava,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Timothy Ijir, said the seedlings being distributed to the farmers were improved varieties with high germination rate.
“The seeds cannot be infected by any insect or bacterial and 22,400 farmers across the state will benefit from the distribution exercise.
“This will go a long way to boost food production thereby, helping the state to maintain its ‘Food Basket of the Nation’ status,” he said.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to Ortom on Bureau for Local Government of Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Ken Achabo, applauded the governor for giving agriculture the attention it deserved.
Achabo said that the seedlings would serve as palliatives to farmers especially those that were displaced.
“This will go a long way to help the displaced persons to cultivate in the 2021 cropping season thereby putting food on their table and enhancing their income as well,” he said.