Bayelsa Pledges Massive Investment In Agriculture To Harness Its Potentials In The Sector
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has restated his administration's desire to invest massively in agriculture to adequately harness the State's potentials in the sector.
The Governor, who stated this in an interview with newsmen in Yenagoa, described agriculture as one of the most viable sources of revenue away from oil and gas, yet to be explored by the State, stressing that, with careful planning and execution of its agricultural programmes , the sector can sustain the State's economy.
According to him, government's vision for agriculture is massive, noting that, the state has comparative advantage in agriculture, especially in rice production, in places like Peremabiri in Southern Ijaw, Isampou in Kolokuma/Opokuma, Otuasega in Ogbia and Burma in Nembe Local Government Areas of the State.
The Bayelsa State Chief Executive explained that, with a very successful pilot programme in rice production, the State was already set to become a major rice producer for both local consumption and export in the nearest future.
Governor Dickson disclosed that, discussions have already been held with foreign experts, who are expected to be in the State soon to invest in rice production, with about one thousand youths to be engaged in what he called big time plantation of rice.
In his words: “we are now selling our rice, called Bayelsa 'Orosi'. You saw some of it during the Economic and Investment forum. That is a pilot scheme that has proved to be very successful. But the type of investment we are looking for has actually been concluded, with some of the investors to arrive soon. We want them to come so we can put like 1,000 young people and do big time plantation”
“That is the direction we are going, not these small ones, it's got to be massive, whatever we do in agriculture, we need the Airport because we want to be in a position to evacuate our farm produce and the arrangement after we are set is that a lot of Bayelsans should do farming”.
He also encouraged the people of the State to take to farming, no matter the scale, as the Bayelsa Agricultural Development Company has been mandated to buy off every excess harvest from farmers across the State.
“The present farm projects embarked upon by the government and the private investor, are on a small scale, though with some recorded success, as pilot projects and I count on Bayelsans to embrace farming as a way of life, either food crop plantation or fishery farming”
The Bayelsa Agricultural Development Company is to buy up farm produce and assist in the provision of loan facilities, training for skills acquisition as well as getting agricultural experts to make inputs and direct on-going projects as a means of intervention on agriculture”
Governor Dickson also spoke on the importance of the State airport, stressing that, there is an urgent need to have the airport project completed, as it will serve as a means of evacuating farm produce to their required destinations in Europe, where there are ready markets for the products.
The Governor hinted that, there was already placement of orders from Europe for all cassava starch produced in Bayelsa, describing the development as a sign of a bright future for the State in the agriculture sector.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State
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