By Osa Okhomina, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State government is to partner the Central Bank of Nigeria to train and empower over 3,500 farmers in the state on rice production, fisheries and poultry under the Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS) and Anchor Borrowers programmes.
According to the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the new partnership with the CBN will enable the farmers to revamp the agricultural sector and ensure bountiful yields before the end of the year.
Ewhrudjakpo, who disclosed this at a meeting with traditional rulers from Nembe local government area at Government House, Yenagoa, said the state had since keyed into the CBN-backed Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS) and Anchor Borrowers programmes to revamp the agricultural sector.
Ewhrudjakpo noted that the focus of the administration was to achieve food sufficiency, assuring that the state government would distribute its own locally produced rice to the people as Christmas gift this year.
“By God’s grace, we are going to eat our own rice from the various farms we have cultivated in different parts of the state. I can assure you (traditional rulers) that we will not buy rice from elsewhere to distribute to you during Christmas,” he said.
“The anchor borrowers and out grower programmes are very key to food security. So, we are working with the CBN to ensure good sufficiency in our state. We are working to see how we can get credible partners to mill the rice,” he added.
He pointed out that government’s intervention in the agriculture sector was not only in crop production but also in fisheries and poultry.
The traditional rulers including the Ibeyanaowei of Oluasiri Clan, King I.C. Awululu, commended the government for initiating the meeting and appealed for an upward review of their monthly allowances to enable them perform their duties effectively.
Others who spoke at the meeting were King Bertram Idibiye Douglas, the Obanobhan of Okoroma Clan, represented by Chief Nanyo Kienworio, the Paramount Ruler of Elepa Community, Chief Gelegukuma Apiri, the Obanema of Akakumama, Chief Ebinimi Donka Solomon, and the Amanyanabo of Okokokiri, Chief Renner Iniowei Sekegha.