The Federal Government, Monday, disclosed support to boost cassava production in Rivers State towards achieving food security and employment generation.
This was made known by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon Mustapha Shehuri, during a visit to the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, at Government House, Port Harcourt, while on tour of cassava farms, projects executed and completed in parts of the state by the Ministry.
In a statement released by the Ministry explained that Shehuri promised to support the huge agricultural potential demonstrated by farmers in Rivers State with basic farm inputs to up-scale their capacity.
While commending the Rivers State Government and farmers for their agricultural exploits, especially cassava production as a major crop commodity, the Minister said the Federal Government would continue to partner and support the Rivers State with new technology, access to improved varieties of cassava cuttings, chemicals for treatment of seed and crop protection.
He (Shehuri) added that the support of the Ministry will focus on extension services, quality seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals, and small-scale equipment for farmers in the State to increase productivity and generate revenue.
Some of the places the Minister and his entourage visited include the Rivers State Cassava Processing Company, Afam, Oyibo Local Government Area, where cassava flour is being produced and will create over 3, 000 jobs along the cassava value chain; the Agricultural Skill Acquisition Centres in Taabaa, Kana/Gokana , Federal Constituency; and Egelebie in Okrika Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, the Minister appealed to the State Government and other stakeholders to make judicious use of the centres when handed over, and benefiting communities should take the projects as theirs and guard them jealously.
He said: “Our mandate to grow the agricultural sector is challenging but with support from the states, we will accelerate food and nutrition security, provide raw materials and employment in the country.”
He also said Federal Government’s intervention programmes are on-going while some have been completed in the rural communities of the State.
“These interventions include asphalt rural roads, solar-powered motorized boreholes, and solar street lights in different parts of rural communities in Rivers State.
“On other federal government interventions we will ensure that they are completed and handed over to the benefiting communities”, he added.
However, Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, maintained that agriculture remains a key component of sustainable development that requires commitment and political will by all relevant stakeholders towards achieving food security and job creation for Nigerian youths.
Wike also cautioned that achieving food security is possible if agriculture is not politicized.