By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that the nation’s agricultural sector is functional because of the background of the Ministers of Agriculture who were key members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before defecting to the ruling party.
Declaring open the 42nd Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development, Governor Wike said that the foresight and national view being exhibited by Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri prove that they imbibed the culture of service while they were PDP members.
He said: “Agriculture is working because they have good Ministers from a sound background. The Minister of Agriculture was a former National Chairman of PDP, while the Minister of State for Agriculture was a senator under the PDP. Their background has helped them.
“You can see the kind of products that PDP has. We have sent them on Sabbatical to help other people. When children are productive, you ask who are their parents?
“We have products who received good upbringing. Their parents, the PDP, gave them quality parenting “.
On the development of agriculture in Rivers State, Governor Wike said the Rivers State Government will take full advantage of the Federal Government agriculture initiatives including the commercial agricultural credit scheme and the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
He said that his administration will galvanise the state into becoming a major player in the agricultural sector.
The governor stressed that his administration will review its agricultural policy for the development of the sector.
He said: “In Rivers State, Government has, over the years, channeled enormous public funds into the development of agriculture without measurable outcomes.
“For this reason, we have decided to review our agricultural policies and programmes to ensure that efforts, funds and inputs are not wasted for the sake of political expediency, as it has been the case with the past.
“This having being said, it is important to emphasize that the agricultural potentials of Rivers State are clearly enormous. Furthermore, being the host to two of the largest fertilizer production plants in the African continent gives us additional horizontal advantages for the advancement of this sector in the State.”
In his address, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh called for the expansion of research in the agricultural sector for the improvement of food production.
He said the Federal Government will ensure that farmers the required credit for commercial farming.
Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri stated that Federal Government is treating agriculture as a business through public enabled but private initiatives.
The Commissioners of Agriculture from the 36 States of the Federation attended the 42nd Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development.