By Friday Nwagbara
The Federal Government has lauded Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke’s agricultural scheme in the state, describing it as impressive.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture, made the commendation recently while on inspection of facilities at the state’s Songhai Interated Farm at Itigidi, Abi Local Government Area, even as he pledged to partner Cross River State in its effort to reposition agriculture to diversify its economy and stimulate value chain.
According to the minister, “What Imoke is doing is impressive and we have plans to support it because it is excellent and visionary in Niger Delta, where Cross River is seen as a non-oil producing state nor have control over oil. Nobody drinks oil, nobody smokes gas but everybody eats what comes from agriculture.”
“The federal government under its agriculture transformation agenda intends to put in place a program knonw as “Young Employment in Agriculture Program” with the focus to create a new cadre of young commercial farmers for Nigeria to replace the current generation of farmers many of whom are getting old.
“So, we are going to partner the state using this facility. In fact, with this program, we are dong roughly 750,000 young farmers for Nigeria over five years,” explaining that the 100 people who have already been training on the facility will be incorporated into the new initiative to further empower them to be more productive.
He urged youth to understand that the only greener pasture is agriculture while calling on the youths to “go into agriculture because it is green and cool.”
Also fielding questions from newsmen, Governor Liyel Imoke disclosed that being a non-oil producing area within the Niger Delta, it has to take opportunity created by the federal government in agriculture to create wealth and ensure value chain.
“We have to change from a plantation economy because the state has land which has not been translated into wealth. The change is not focused on just plantation but also on processing and marketing and we have to start from here to drive it,” he explained.
The governor further added that the state has a strong policy trust focused on agriculture because it has comparative advantage in terms of availability of land resources, conducive investments environment, and peace and man power.
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