The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced plans by his administration to empower 20,000 youth to embrace agriculture through the provision of necessary loan facilities.
Wike unfolded the plan last Monday, at the celebration marking this year’s World Food Day in Port Harcourt.
He said his administration was partnering with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enable 10,000 youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years access the agric loans.
The governor, who was represented at the event by the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Sir Kenneth Kobani, said another 10,000 youth would be empowered through the partnership arrangement with Siat Nigeria Limited.
He said: “As a government, we will continue to encourage our people to go into agriculture and exploit the opportunities of agriculture.
“We will continue to support ventures and give facilities to our youth for agricultural purposes. This is to ensure that farming is made profitable across the state”.
The governor explained that as more people from the state are able to reap the benefits of agriculture, the better for the state, stressing that agriculture alone can employ more people than any other business.
Nothing that the oil industry was nowhere near the agricultural sector, Wike maintained that agric sector has capacity to employ millions of people in the state.
“What we are doing is to reduce the dependency on oil for the sustenance of our economy. The potentials of agriculture in Rivers State are infinite”, he said, adding that his administration would continue to work with farmers to ensure that the state enjoys the food security it requires.
The governor noted that no country in the world would become great without feeding her people, hence the desire of his administration to tap the full potentials in the agriculture sector.
In his address, the Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Iheanyichukwu Nwaorgu said that the partnership between the state government and CBN will focus on two key areas – palm produce and fishery.
He added that the 10,000 youth, who will receive the loan facility on this programme, will focus on these two areas.