The Bayelsa State government has disclosed that rather than playing politics with cattle rearing, the state is approaching it as a business with the establishment of a ranch at Elebele Palm Estate, in line with international best practices.
This is part of the state government aggressive agricultural revolution to diversify economy, create jobs and ensure food security.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Week Doidei, who spoke in Yenagoa, said apart from investment in human resource development in the agricultural sector, which has resulted into various training for over 600 young graduates, huge investments are also being made in areas where the state has comparative and competitive advantage.
The commissioner spoke during the Inter-Ministerial/Agency Press briefing organised by the Ministry of Information and Orientation to showcase the achievements of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s six-years administration.
Doidei said the upland fish farm at Igbogene remained one example of what the future of agric-business state would be in the state.
He explained that the fish farm runs the full business circle; with hi-tech hatcheries, 500 ponds, fish-feeds mill and fish processor and dryers, Bayelsa holds the promise of not only feeding the state but also generate income through fish export. The commissioner said that the Ebedebiri Cassava Farm is another big ticket project that will deliver 30 million tonnes of starch annually.
Doidei described the cassava project as the biggest in the country and Bayesla state’s contribution to saving hundreds of millions of dollars expended annually to import starch for industrial purposes.
He also mentioned the Integrated Poultry at Ebedebiri as another star project being undertaken by the state government.
The commissioner said there are future plans to replicate the fish farm in every local government area of the state to generate employment for the teaming youth. Work, he disclosed has commenced at 250-hectare the Southern Ijaw Local Government Fish Farm.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Information of Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, posited that the issue of food security must be tackled headlong with the fast growing population, insisting that a nation that cannot feed itself is not fully sovereign. He said the administration of Seriake Dickson has recorded solid life-long achievements in the agricultural sector with visible evidence for people to see. The commissioner said that sustained peace in the state will create a virile environment for more successes in every sector.
In his remarks, the chairman of the occasion and the Head of Service, Rev. Thomas Zidafamor, opined that the real wealth of the state is in the agriculture sector. He commended the state government for his huge and creative investments in the sector, saying that the twin advantage of Dickson’s commitment to agriculture is food security and high employment generating capacity of the sector.
Zidafamor encouraged young graduates to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the various agricultural initiatives, saying that there is always dignity in labour.