The Federal Government has shown commitment to support agriculture, as it is currently supporting Niger Delta ex-militant, Mr Paul Eris, popularly known as General Ogunboss, in rice production in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The Federal Government ,through the Ministry of Agriculture matched words with action by providing 320 paddies in the first quarters in 2017, and 10 tonnage rice mill to boost production in the state and country.
Elated Eris said the rice project, known as Peremabiri Rice Farm, which occupies 2,500 hectares in Southern Ijaw, was on a mission to bridge the insufficient gap in rice production and to reduce importation of rice in the country.
The ex-militant averred that the 53.5 hectares farm had two rice milling machines and other equipment/accessories for rapid production of rice; even as he noted that turn-over of harvest would result in a drastic reduction in the cost rice.
Eris said, beyond food sufficiency, the Tanko Farms has re-absorb idle hands that would have been involved in nefarious activities, by providing employment for no fewer than 100 workers involved in daily production activities on the farm.
He, however, submitted that the major challenge faced in the area was access road, noting that transporting equipment and workers was critical on the company’s finance and called on the federal government to assist the state government in constructing the road.
Mr Pereotubo Oweilaemi, President of the IYC, commended the Tanko Farms when he led a delegation of the youth body to visit Eris at his country home in Peremabiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
He said the rice farm held a lot of potential to create wealth and job opportunities for youths from various Ijaw communities and also help in solving youth restiveness in the Niger Delta.
“I want to commend the Federal Government for deeming it necessary to do something tangible through our brother to ensure that the people are meaningfully engaged.
“Of course, I have said it at various fora that when the Niger Delta youths are meaningfully engaged, it will curb youth restiveness in the region and this (rice farm) is one key project that can sort out the crisis situation in the region”,Oweilaemi said.
The youth leader, however, appealed to the government to do more by establishing more agricultural projects that would absorb more youths, adding that the swampy nature of the region’s terrain was suitable for growing rice.
Oweilaemi assured Eris that the IYC would stand by him in the rice project as the former militant leader had proven to be a true Ijaw son who had shown sufficient interest in the progress of the Ijaw nation.