Agricultural resources can replace oil within a decade
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi on Monday said earnings from agricultural resources could replace revenue from crude oil within a decade, if vigorously pursued by Nigerians.
Bello stated this in Lokoja while receiving the 5th World Bank/FGN Joint Mission to Kogi on FADAMA III AF Implementation team on a three-day projects visit to the state.
He said that agriculture stood as a confirmed “Quick Win“ to bridge the funding gap created by the dwindling fortunes of crude oil and its accompanying economic challenges.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Simon Achuba, said his administration believes the almost limitless value chains in the sector (agriculture) can replace crude oil earnings 100 per cent within a decade.
My vision and yearnings since assumption of office has been to transform Kogi State into an industrial/economic destination with the agricultural sector playing a pivotal role, particularly through massive support for cassava and rice value chains, “ he said.
The governor expressed the determination of his government to ensure the success of the World Bank-assisted FADAMA III Additional Financing agricultural projects through prompt payment of counterpart contributions.
Bello, however, pointed out that the one hectare per farmer of the `Brown Field` was difficult to achieve without assistance on land clearing.
He, therefore, requested for an increase in land clearing allocation to Kogi by 100 per cent.
Earlier, leader of the World Bank team, Dr Salau Sheu, stressed the need for the state government to pay its counterpart contribution to provide more food and create jobs.
Sheu said the bank would continue to support agriculture and rural development in the state.
He observed that the dwindling revenue from crude oil should serve as a wake-up call to all Nigerians to take agriculture more seriously.
In his speech, FADAMA National Coordinator, Dr Gbenga Arokoyo, said the cassava specie being produced by FADAMA farmers in the state had the best quality starch content.
Arokoyo called on the government to facilitate the establishment of more cassava processing plants in the state to provide the needed market for farmers.
He said farmers were spending what would have been their gains on transportation of the produce to other states for processing.