• Commends Wike for security, infrastructure development in Rivers
By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors have endorsed agriculture as a viable option for the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
The editors also commended Rivers State Governor, “Nyesom Wike, for the level of security and infrastructure development in the state.”
The stance of the editors was contained in a communique signed by its President, Funke Egbemode, and Secretary, Victoria Ibanga, and issued at the end of the 12th All Nigerian Editors’ Conference (ANEC) held in Port Harcourt from August 3 to 7 with the theme: “Economic Diversification: Agriculture as Option for A Prosperous Nigeria.’’
The editors noted that there is a serious problem with the nation’s economy as a result of over-reliance on oil and gas as source of revenue for the country and that there is urgent need to diversify the economy.
They also stated that agriculture has suffered serious neglect as a result of negative mind set, reliance on outdated methods and gross underfunding.
The conference therefore resolved, “That agriculture is the most viable option to adopt to revive the nation’s economy, create employment for the army of unemployed youths, and usher in prosperity for the country and its peoples.”
The communique also said the media has a major role to play in efforts to redirect the consciousness of Nigerians especially the youth towards embracing modern, technology-driven agriculture.
“Government must urgently evolve or strengthen policies that protect local farmers against influx of foreign agricultural products and encourage local production for food sufficiency and processing of raw materials for export,” they said.
While noting that skills needed for agricultural production and processing should be stressed above mere certification for the sake of it, the conference called on government to quickly recapitalise and make more functional the Bank of Agriculture and other institutions relevant to the agricultural programmes of the country.
They also said the formation of more farmers’ co-operative societies should be encouraged while those already in existence should be strengthened to improve on their productivity.
States, they said, should collaborate in the areas of agricultural production and processing, using the areas where they have comparative advantage.
On the security situation in Rivers State, the guild said: “Based on careful observation of the state of affairs in Rivers State, the Guild commended the government and people of the state for the level of security and infrastructural development as well as for the steps being taken to promote agriculture in the state.”
The guild ratified Mrs. Funke Egbemode as President of the Guild.