The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri weekend unveiled the Agricultural roadmap of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to farmers in Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta region,saying the new agricultural policy will resolve issues of unemployment, poor revenue to states and Poverty in the Niger Delta region.
According to Senator Lokpobiri, though Bayelsa and others states of the region are among the richest and most productive systems in the world, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has seen that in light of the global realities, there is an urgent need to proactively explore her untapped non oil sectors to access the resources needed to ensure the State develops sustainably and contributes to ensuring food security and forex revenue generation.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, while speaking on Friday with farmers and other stakeholders in Bayelsa and the Niger Delta region,said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has recognized that the rich endowment of Bayelsa State goes beyond oil and gas, and are exploring the potentials of the rich and arable land and aquatic treasure of the state.
According to Lokpobiri, “In spite of the widely-held misconception that oil and gas constitute the most important natural resource in the State, the stark reality is that agriculture is the basis of life sustenance and the State has the capacity to become a domestic and international provider of agricultural produce. It is obvious that decades of exploitation of oil and gas has not brought significant benefits to the people and we need to explore more sustainable and environmental friendly ways of generating employment for our teeming youths, ensuring wealth creation and increasing revenue.”
“With the state of oil our oil production and the unstable price of oil in the international market, large scale of unemployment, difficulty of Government and other employers to pay wages and the growing realization that the economy needs to be urgently diversified, it is obvious the future belongs to agriculture. There is an urgent need to diversify our economy by focusing more on agriculture and its value chain.”
“The State and indeed the country require solution providers and Entrepreneurs’ that will transform the state of agriculture and I am delighted that this process has commenced.We know that before the advent of crude oil in commercial quantity in Nigeria, Agriculture was the mainstay of the economy and a major foreign exchange earner. The State has fertile land for the cultivation of a variety of crops, including cassava, yam, rice, okro, ogbono, pepper, cocoyam, maize, wheat, palm trees, rubber, plantain and banana trees etc. Tomatoes, pepper, cucumber and watermelon are now being produced commercially in Bayelsa State. Snails are in abundance and there are huge potentials in livestock farming. Its rich aquatic life supports the promotion of aquaculture and fisheries value chain for accelerated fish and shrimp production.”