As part ofthe Federal Government strategies to pull the country out off the current recession it found itself, the Graduates Farmers Empowerment Scheme in Agbala Integrated Farm Project in Owerri, Imo State was launched as part of its efforts to revamp the agricultural sector of the economy.
Flagging off the 6th Empowerment Scheme of the Federal Government piloted by the Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources on Thursday 27th October, 2016, the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, FNSE stated that government is committed to a nationwide pilot scheme that would be undertaken by all the 12 River Basin Authorities as well as the 109 senatorial districts. He added that this strategic plan would boost food production, create jobs and sustain economic development
Adamu said that the beneficiaries that would be trained in various agricultural activities such as crop farming, aquaculture, dairy farming, animal husbandry, food processing would subsequently be empowered through other government intervention programmes to establish their own agriculture ventures.
He said, “This arrangement would create a multiplier positive impact on the economy through improved food production and employment generation”.
He urged the beneficiaries and stakeholders to ensure that the potentials inherent in the programme are properly utilized for their socio-economic advancement so that they become leading agricultural entrepreneurs across the country.
The Managing Director of Anambra-Imo River Basin,Engr.PatrickOkereafor, FNSE stated that the Federal Government is dedicated to using agriculture to bring Nigeria out of the present recession, create employment for the youths, increase Federal Government revenue base as well as boost food security.
Okereafor stated that the pilot scheme which was started with cropping of market garden products, pawpaw, plantain, cassava, sweet cornwould be replicated in other senatorial districts of the state.
“The integrated farming activities will grow into a value chain system leading to agro-allied processing industries similar to Songhai Model”, he said.
In his goodwill message, the Director of Songhai Farms, Port Novo, Benin Republic, Prof. Godfrey Namujo, said that the Federal Government of Nigeria is by this project going back to the original mandate of the River Basins as machinery for poverty, food insecurity, unemployment and environmental degradation eradication.
He added that the Songhai Regional Centre in Nigeria will work with the River Basins to harness the incredible possibility set in each zone to invent, develop and contextualize integrated development programs and farming systems that would create synergies between agriculture, industry and services.
Margaret E. Umoh
Director (Information & Public Relations)