The Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri has ordered his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, commissioners and all members of the State Executive Council to cultivate their own farms as a practical demonstration of the present administration’s resolve to encourage agriculture among the people.
According to Gov Diri, though the state has received about N8billion and five tractors to support the state’s 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.
Governor Diri, who dropped the hint when marking this year’s World Food Day and flag-off of the 2020 farming season, said this administration prosperity agenda would be driven by agriculture, entrepreneurship, skills acquisition and youths empowerment, adding that the state was partnering with the federal government to obtain loans through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Gov. Diri, represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo,, said “the Diri-boost programme has commenced, we have established lots of farms 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 of the state executive council including the governor and deputy governor must have a farm and we have all agreed.
“We want to maximize 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 rice, fish, cassava and plantain, we also have advantage and potentials in sugar cane, sweet potatoes, coconut, guava, cocoa, African mango and cashew, and so every crop can grow in Bayelsa State,” he said.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, David Alagoa, 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 said 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.
Chairman of the State House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Tonye Isenah noted that the resolve of the Assembly members is to partner with the Executive arm of Government to ensure agriculture is given priority attention through proper budgeting.