The Rivers State government has called on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the business community to collaborate with it in the effort to boost agriculture in the state.
The call was made by the state Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, at this year’s World Food Day celebration held at the Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt. She said that the state’s vision for agriculture was to make quality food available and affordable for all families, as well as guarantee food security.
Dr Banigo said that the Rivers State Government would go beyond paying lip service to agriculture by bringing in investors to partner with government to go into large-scale agricultural production.
She stated: “We have a lot of arable land that can be identified for commercial farming but we notice that Nigeria is perhaps the world’s second largest importer of rice and with our waterways, why don’t we look at how we can have sustainable fish production instead of importing so much fish.”
The deputy governor said that the state government had undertaken a number of road projects in the rural communities to ensure that food products were accessed and transported to the urban centres.
In her goodwill message, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said that it was time for urgent collaboration of all stakeholders in the agricultural sector, especially to adopt a pragmatic approach to mitigate the impact of climate change on food, agriculture and environment.
Mrs. Semenitari who was represented by the NDDC Deputy Director in Agriculture and Fisheries, Mrs. Daisy Amadi-Oviawe, commended the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, of the United Nations for sustaining the annual campaign aimed at creating awareness globally on the problems of food shortage as well as helping rural communities achieve the capacity to produce more food to guarantee food security.
The NDDC boss noted that the theme of this year’s celebration; “Climate is changing, Food and Agriculture Must Too,” was appropriate because of the negative impact of climate change in all parts of the world.
According to Mrs. Semenitari, “these developments have devastating human cost and spiraling effects on global food security, livelihoods and the very survival of our people.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the Vice Chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Professor Blessing Didia said the people should begin to change their attitude as it relates to the climate, while the young ones should be encouraged to take interest in agriculture as alternative to white collar jobs.