The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh inspected Beans market in Auta Ballefi, Nasarawa State, which is owned by internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Borno State, the North Eastern part of the country and assured farmers of Federal Government’s interventions to create enabling environment.
The Minister stated this during an inspection tour of the IDP beans market along Keffi Road, Nasarawa state yesterday.
The minister, who described the market as “one of the biggest beans market I have seen in Nigeria”, was highly impressed by the determination and hard work of the people who fled their homelands as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that the Ministry is proud of the IDP farmers who formed farm clusters in order to be self- employed, generate employment for the teeming youths and feed Nigerians rather than waiting for government to feed them as internally displaced persons.
“This is to show that Nigerians have resilience in spite of their challenges; see what they are doing for themselves. I am surprised and elated, instead of IDPs waiting for somebody else to bring them food, here is a group of people from essentially Borno State who found refuge here and have created an industry of their own”, the Minister stated.
Ogbeh assured the farmers of necessary government’s interventions with the provisions of market access, security, water and other amenities in the market as well as creating linkage roads to their farm but cautioned them against the use of toxic pesticide for the preservation of the beans and other grains but should rather adopt the usage of pepper instead of using chemicals that are dangerous to the health.
He stated “I am very excited to be here, it’s quite surprising but also quite indicative of what Nigerians can do even in adversity. We are very proud of them. The first thing we are going to say to them is that nobody should put sniper in the bag of beans. They should never put sniper, it’s a poison. They should rather put pepper”.
The Minister who urged other IDPs to emulate what their peers had accomplished further promised to supply the beans farmers with harvesters, threshers and a specific number of tractors for the next planting season for easy harvesting and processing of their beans.
He said he would engage the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Coordinator of the School Feeding Programme to patronize the beans produced by the IDPs in order to boost their market.
Ogbeh commended the efforts of Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and other personalities who saw it as a responsibility and helped in facilitating the process of acquiring land for both farming and market.
In his remarks, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan said the Internally Displaced Persons at Auta Balefi, Keffi Road are very resourceful and talented in the production of beans in spite of their challenges and he urged the Minister to build on the achievements recorded by ensuring that government provides them with necessary supports.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Beans Market, Mr.Philemon Yakubu in his welcome address thanked the Minister for honouring their invitation to inspect the market and their products and informed the Minister that the market which is fast developing needed some critical areas of intervention such as supply of water boreholes, toilet facilities, Security, ware houses and agricultural machineries among others, in order to boost their production.