Agriculture in Benue

Benue State is rightly referred to as the food basket of the nation due to its immense agricultural resources. It is strategically located in the middle belt of the country with vast fertile land and has advantage and capacity to produce virtually all major food crops of the nation.

The state is a major producer of yams, rice, sesame, soyabean, sorgum, maize, guinea corn, beans” cassava, groundnuts and bambara nuts. Tree crops like oil palm, mango, orange, cashew, kola nuts, etc also thrive very well in the State; and the state is a major supplier of fruits in the country. There is a great deal of livestock resources – goats, poultry, sheep, pigs, ability of fish and other aquatic resources remain largely untapped as the traditional methods of exploration guarantee only a small catch. Benue State maintains a leading status in agricultural production against’ the background of a largely subsistence orientation.

If mechanisation and other modem methods of farming are introduced, the State can singly feed Nigeria, provide enough raw materials for the nation’s agro-based industries and get leverage surplus for exportation.

The Benue State government, conscious of the tremendous agricultural potentials of the State and the promise they hold for its economy, has consistently pursued policies and strategies to ensure increased production of agricultural produce by (i) the mobilization of farmers to form co-operative unions in order to benefit from bank loans and have easier access to agricultural machinery, chemicals and expert advice to farmers, (iii) production of improved seeds, seedlings and livestock breeds for supply to farmers (i) opening up rural areas to ease agricultural produce, (v) ensuring attractive commodity prices by establishing agro-allied industries such as Taraku Mills Limited, Agro-millers, etc (vi) setting up agencies and parastatals to effect agricultural revolution in the State, such as ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Benue Rural Development Authority (BERDA, formerly DFFRI), Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), Benue Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (BNARD), Benue Tractor Hiring Agency (BENTHA) and recently the Commodities Exchange Board.

The current emphasis in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy is on local sourcing of raw materials. Benue State, with its capacity to support a wide range of crops, can make significant contributions in the national search for local raw materials. Large scale farming in the State will therefore go a long way to produce the much needed raw materials especially for agro-based industries.

However, at present only little large scale farming occurs in the State. Any genuine investors in large scale farming wishing to invest in the state is encouraged by the land acquisition policy, fertility of the land, fruitful dividend and a wide latitude to grow a variety of crops.