* Rivers is behind in agric – business leader
By Gladys Nweke
A Rivers State government official has observed a weakness in the economy, wondering why lorries carrying cows head to the south-south daily but no lorries carrying fish or any produce head to the north, in return.
On this score, Rivers youths have been called upon to develop a strong passion for Agric production as it is the only future hope and solution to unemployment.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Kindness Egbelu, stated this during an Agriculture and Produce Trade Group workshop organised by Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce to mark the end of 2019 International Trade Fair.
She said; “We should be ashamed that everyday lorries and lorries of cows are coming from the north to the State and we as Rivers people are not sending fish back that way.
”We have water, we have all the basic necessities that would enable us to produce fish so that as they bring in cows here, we also will send fish to the north. Even people within the neighbouring states will buy. All it requires is drying and packaging.
She said youths are free to come for agricultural training and re-training at the ministry.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director Planning of the Ministry, Mr Chijioke Amadi, urged young men and women from Rivers to stop depending on the government, but engage themselves in fish production that can be exported to other parts of the country and abroad.
The current budget presented by the Rivers State government has about N40Bn for Agriculture and most of it will be channelled on training the youth for farming and fishing.
I am calling on all Rivers youths to come to the Ministry of Agric. We will interview them after which we will send them to School to Land for training and re-training.
Rivers is behind in Agric
On his part, Chairman Agric Trade Group, Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce and Secretary of the 2019 International Trade Fair Committee, Surveyor Emmanuel Ogbonda, said Rivers State is far behind in agricultural produce, adding that there is hope for Agriculture in the state following the state government’s forty billion naira approval for Agriculture.
Rivers State is far behind the agricultural class, we want to upgrade the state to the level where we can begin to compete with other agricultural class in Nigeria, so we want to see that the promise of Rivers State government begins to trickle down where everyone will key into agriculture and also benefit.
The mere fact His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike has taken interest in making sure that money is pumped into agriculture shows how much he wants the state to improve agricultural wise.
Youths need to be groomed, we have so much food in the state, with the two hundred million population of Nigeria, nothing you produce that you would not sell. There is a market for every farmer in the country, all it requires is packaging, so youth should think fast and think agriculture, rather than waste their time in search of white-collar job.