by Daniel Essiet,
The Federal Government is determined to collaborate with farmers in Bayelsa State to boost foreign exchange earnings and create jobs.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said this when he visited some farms in Bayelsa State where he inspected an exhibition of farm produce. He also held a town hall meeting with farmers.
Lokpobiri, who is from the state, assured his people of the Federal Government’s assistance in tapping the resources of Bayelsa.
He stressed the need to rewrite the history of the state from what it was known for – militancy – to being a huge revenue generating state that is blessed by God with rich human and natural resources, land for farming and aquaculture.
Lokpobiri visited some farms, including Zada Farms and Investment Company, Eresere, Frefa Investment Company with a modern technology, where over 4000 day old chicks are managed technologically till maturity.
He visited Chief Ebikiri Akpolus’s Farm and Achiever’s Farm where there was an exhibition of a farm produce and town hall meeting.
The Federal Government, the Minister said, has organisations which are willing to assist farmers. He listed these as National Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Bank of Agriculture (BOA) West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and the Federal Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness.
Bayelsa State Chapter of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Chairman Mr. Suoyo Amaran, thanked the Minister for the visit and believed it would open a new page for farmers. He, however, enumerated some of their constraints to include – access to funds, issue of collateral and high interest rate, availability of relevant equipment, lack of training and retraining of farmers and lack of government’s support.T