The Niger Delta Development Commission has flagged off the distribution of agricultural inputs, comprising organic liquid fertilizer and soil conditioner, to farmers in Akwa Ibom State.
Addressing farmers at the commencement of the distribution of the agricultural inputs, at the NDDC Akwa Ibom State office in Uyo, the Commission’s Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, said that the interventionist agency was determined to guarantee food security in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Ekere, who was represented by the Akwa Ibom State representative on the board of the NDDC, Hon Samuel Frank George, said that the Commission had always recognized agriculture as the way forward for Nigeria, adding that it would continue to initiate programmes that would boost modern agricultural practices.
He said: “We want to discourage the use of in-organic substances in farming. We have, therefore, taken a bold step to provide farmers in the Niger Delta region with Agric Zyme Organic Liquid Fertilizers.
“This product will not only increase farm yield dramatically, it will also restore the ecological properties of the soil, making it more suitable for agricultural use and encouraging more youths to embrace modern farming.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the Commission was partnering with the Nigerian Export Import Bank, NEXIM, to set up a N5 billion export facility, targeted strictly at the agricultural value chain.
He observed: “The partnership with NEXIM Bank is meant to develop the agricultural sector by boosting the entire value chain from training to planting, processing and provision of funds for setting up agricultural enterprises. We want to create an export initiative in the agricultural sector to create jobs and help the nation’s economy.”
Ekere said that the NDDC needed to leverage on NEXIM Bank to tackle the challenges of creating jobs and building sustainable development programmes. He decried a situation where youths of the Niger Delta were often left without hope, stating: “We need to give our youths hope by providing opportunities for them.”
He said the Commission was also collaborating with Cross Rivers State Government to activate the government’s hatchery/poultry project with the purpose of distributing day old chicks and feeds to poultry farmers at subsidized rates.
The NDDC Director for Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr Marcel Eshiogu, assured that the Commission would not relent in its zeal to transform agriculture into a rewarding commercial venture. He told farmers that NDDC had procured 50,000 litres of Soil Conditioners and 50,000 litres of Agric Zyme for distribution in the region.
Mr Eshiogu guaranteed the safety of the products, noting that they had been fully tested and certified. He advised the farmers to take advantage of the product utilisation training to be provided by the NDDC in its state offices so as to derive maximum benefits from the products.
Making a presentation on the agricultural inputs, the NDDC Consultant for the programme, Dr Edith Iroegbu-Anaekwe, emphasised the need for farmers to work smart, stating that the use of Agric Zyme fertilizer was a sure way to go for smart farming.
The agricultural expert explained that the products help plants to digest nutrients. According to her, “just as the finest meal will be of little or no value to the human body if the body is unable to digest and assimilate the nutrients from the food, so also the soil fertilizers, poultry feeds, fish feed and livestock feeds will be of no effect if they were not digested for the nutrients to be absorbed.”