By Sam Egwu, Lokoja –
Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, yesterday unveiled the state’s branded rice called Confluence Rice.
The governor also warned local government administrators and political office holders against diversion of agricultural equipment for personal use.
Bello, who gave the warning in Lokoja, while commissioning agricultural equipment worth several millions of naira and unveiling the Confluence Rice, said the procurement of the equipment was aimed at enhancing agricultural production in the state.
The governor said his administration will deal decisively with anyone engaging in act that could hinder the real farmers from gaining access to the equipment.
“I will not take it lightly with any administrator of local government who interfere with the management and control of the tractors. The main objective of procuring the tractors is to assist the farmers in the local government to enhance their production. Government will not condone any attempt to divert the tractors”, he said.
He pointed out that aside the engagement of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the sector, his administration will continue to assist local farmers and youth who are willing to earn a living through agriculture.
He said, with the move, Kogi State has joined the league of rice producing states that are striving to make the country achieve food sufficiency.
Also speaking when he unveiled the rice, Bello said the agricultural revolution that led to the production of the Confluence Rice was in line with the economic diversification agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
According to him, the agricultural policy of the federal government that the state had been implementing has given the state the capacity to produce good quantity of rice that will be enough to feed the entire country.
Bello noted that an important measure that had helped Nigeria out of the mess the past administration left for the country was the decision to be self-sufficient in food production.
He stressed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, which handed over power to President Buhari, mismanaged the economy to recession.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Agriculture Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba disclosed that the current administration has done a lot to key into the agricultural programme of President Buhari as a way of diversifying the nation’s economy from oil.
He noted the the establishment of 50 tonnes capacity per day of rice mill in Omi, Yagba West local government area of the state will enhance rice production and place Kogi state among the leading rice producers in the country.
Oloruntoba further disclosed that the state has been selected by the federal government as one of the six states that will benefit from National Egg production programme through poultry farming.
He added that 135 people from the state will benefit from the N4.2 million that will be given to each farmer to kick start the programme.
The agricultural equipment commissioned yesterday include 40 tractors, 40 ridgers, 40 harrows, 40 ploughs and 1500 power tillers.
Others are 10 boom sprayers, 10 combined harvestors and 10 planters, which will be distributed to farmers free, except tractors that will be managed by farm instructors in the local government area of the state.
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