James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri has said that the federal government remains committed to achieving food security.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, at the Government House , Yenegoa, he said agriculture will boost nutrition and food security, increase the local farmers income and create more jobs for Nigerian youths.
The minister, who was in the state on a facility tour of agriculture projects, said, President, Muhammadu Buhari was passionate about growing what Nigerians eat and eating what they grow to curb unnecessary importation of food which constitutes a drain on foreign exchange.
He said the ministry was fully aware of the peculiar situation which limits agricultural production because the terrains are often flooded, swampy and ecologically disadvantaged to support crop production to the desired commercial level in the state.
In a statement, issued by the ministry’s Chief Information Officer, Ezeaja Ikemefuna, Shehuri, however, stressed that if properly harnessed, developed and managed, the terrains could nonetheless, become an asset for rice production as well as other exotic fruits and vegetables that already abound.
He told the governor that, “some cash crops such as oil palm and raffia palm have great potentialities for development in the state, hence the ministry believes that Bayelsa State is not only blessed as an oil producing state but one of the states that can also contribute to the diversification of the economy through agriculture.”
The minister said the diversification agenda of the present administration was one of the cardinal policies aimed at achieving nutrition and food security, reducing poverty rate and creating more jobs for Nigerians.
According to him: “There are various interventions and infrastructural supports that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) have either completed or are still on-going in the state.
“Therefore, I am here to see these projects and appraise the extent to which these projects have been able to complement the efforts of the state government at ensuring that the good people of Bayelsa State, especially the rural communities, have access to quality life.”
He further identified some of the projects fully funded and completed by the ministry to include the mini-water treatment plants in Sagbama, paved road networks and solar street lights in different part of rural communities.
Others include project re-stocking of lakes and water bodies, establishment of fish processing plant as well as live bird market in Yenagoa.