Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has given his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, State Commissioners and members of the State Executive Council a marching order to own farms in order to demonstrate the his administration’s resolve to encourage agriculture among the people.
According to Diri, though the State have received about N8 billion and five tractors to support the State in its drive for food sufficiency, the decision to direct members of the State Executive Council to own their farms, is a deliberate State policy to achieve food self sustainability in the State and all hands must be on deck.
Diri, who spoke during the occasion to mark this year’s World Food Day and flag-off of the 2020 farming season, explained that his administration prosperity agenda will be driven by four cardinal points of agriculture, entrepreneurship, skills acquisition, and youths empowerment.
He explained that the State was partnering with the federal government to obtain loans through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of which capacity is being deployed.
The Governor, who was represented by his Ewhrudjakpo, disclosed that his policy targeted to encourage farming has already commenced.
‘The Diri-boost programme has commenced, as you are aware, we have lots of farms have been established and clearing is ongoing in several communities for the purpose of ensuring that we have food sufficiency. Everybody must be involved in agriculture and this has become the policy of the present administration where the Governor has declared that every member of the State Executive Council, including the Governor and Deputy Governor, must have a farm and we have all agreed.
‘We want to maximise the agricultural potentials of Bayelsa State and we believe that all of us must put our hands on deck to achieve greater prosperity through agriculture. We have very comparative advantage in almost all areas of the food value chain but we will focus on four key areas which include rice, fish, cassava and plantain, we also have advantage and potentials in the areas of sugar cane, sweet potatoes, coconut, guava, cocoa, African mango and cashew, and so every crop can grow in Bayelsa State,’ the Deputy Governor said.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, David Alagoa, in his remarks, said this year’s theme, “Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together”, further encourages all to engender the economy and putting in best efforts to sustain improved livelihood through agriculture.
He noted that the Ministry is poised to serve as a rally point and veritable source for the provision of various improved varieties of seeds and seedlings, as well as other agricultural inputs and facilities for farmers in the State.
He also noted that seven farm lands have been cleared in some local government areas of the State with focus on rice, fish, cassava and plantain farming.