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Akpabio wants CBN to fund rice production in Niger Delta

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Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, God’swill Akpabio has stressed the need for the ministry to revisit the agricultural partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make funds available for the production of rice in the region.

The Guardian recalled that Akpabio had, during a meeting with the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, expressed the ministry’s readiness to collaborate with the CBN to improve on agricultural development and provide employment for youths of the Niger Delta region.

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Akpabio had explained that the ministry had a pilot programme on rice production in the nine states of the region, which it was determined to begin, noting that this would help to provide employment for the people, check hostilities and improve the living standard of the Niger Delta people.

But in another meeting in Abuja between the minister and agriculturists from Cambodia at the weekend, Akpabio said the Federal Government was ready to implement the programme with a view to addressing hunger and diabetics in the region and the entire country.

Akpabio maintained that he was convinced that there was much to benefit from the agricultural project and expressed the ministry’s willingness to engage agricultural experts from Cambodia to improve food production in the region through the cultivation and processing of a special variety of rice species highly embedded with nutrients.

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He said the introduction of the Integrated Agricultural Products and Services Project in the region would not only address hunger through improved food production but also go a long way to changing the socio-economic status of the Niger Deltans and Nigeria in general.

He urged the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Babayo Ardo, to set up a team to go into a technical session with the Cambodian experts and come up with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) so that the pilot scheme could commence without delay.

Speaking, Minister of State for Niger Delta, Omotayo Alasoadura, assured Niger Delta people that the ministry intended to initiate sustainable projects and programmes in the region with greater emphasis on agriculture.

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Alasoadura stated that the ministry believed that with adequate exploitation of agriculture, the South-South region could feed the nation and export food produce.

Earlier, the Leader of Delegation, Peter Ojong Brown, said the organisation was into agricultural products and services, noting that the production of special rice species could be cultivated and harvested within 90 days.

He also disclosed that the organisation was into planting special grass for ranching, construction and fabrication of ranches for the prescribed number of cattle within a state, adding that the company also engaged in the conversion of cow dung to biogas for power generation.


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