by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Plateau State Government has commenced its post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan with the re-acquisition of the Brewery Agro Research Company (BARC) Farms in Zallaki Village in Bassa Local Government.
To begin the process of making the moribund farm functional, Governor Simon Lalong and members of his cabinet visited the farm over the weekend to flag-off the allocation of one thousand hectares to members of All Farmers Association, interested civil servants, pensioners, political office holders and members of the host community under a temporary arrangement.
The governor stated that, the re-acquisition of BARC Farms was a very bold step to return the pride of Plateau State and create jobs by reviving commercial agriculture, which the farm was reputed for.
He noted that, “In its days of glory, the farm was into cultivation of dry and irrigated crops such as grain, vegetable and tree crops; cattle ranches; poultry farms with parent and hatchery units; Piggery-rearing of pigs; Abattoir for poultry, pigs and cattle; as well as operated a big dam for fishery.
“So far, government has paid one billion naira for the re-acquisition of BARC Farm shares, representing about 70 percent of the total sum, and hoping to complete the balance before the end of the year,” he said.
He expressed hope that at the long run, the Farm, which has potential for occupying over 30% to 40% share of the Agro-allied market in Nigeria, will leverage on its existing structures to cultivate crops that the state has comparative advantage in.
Plateau State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Hosea Finangwai, said government was aware of the concerns about security and the deplorable road infrastructure leading to the farm, and is already taking steps to address those fears to re-assure the farmers of their safety and investment.
Also, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Abe Mark Aku, and the General Manager of Plateau Investments and Properties Company, Mr. Chrys Yilzak, advised people of the state, especially civil servants, to support the governor by embracing farming so as to create other sources of income, particularly at this time when Covid-19 has greatly impacted the State’s resources.
The governor also presented letters of offer, fertilizers and other farm inputs before ploughing one of the plots.