Modern agric will ensure food security, says NDDC
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said its focus on modern agriculture is targeted at guaranteeing food security, not just for residents of the region but also for all Nigerians.
The NDDC Interim Administrator, Dr. Efiong Akwa, stated this during a ceremony for the presentation of honorary awards organised by Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN) in Port Harcourt.
Akwa, who was represented by the NDDC Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Felix Amorue, said: “Agriculture remains a key sector with enormous potential to create employment for our teeming unemployed youths.”
He said the NDDC had consciously implemented its master plan on agriculture through the Directorate of Agriculture and Fisheries, which has over the years carried out programmes aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in the region.
He added that under the training and capacity-building programme of the Commission, over 15,000 youths, women and farmers had been trained on various agricultural businesses, and that the Commission had concluded plans to train and empower additional 2,000 youths and women across the region.
Akwa said the NDDC, in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture, provided credit/grants to 120 co-operative groups of youths and women to carry out various agricultural enterprises in the Niger Delta region.
He said the Commission had empowered over 2,500 fisher folks with fishing gears, boats, outboard engines, hooks, nets, fish boxes, floater sinkers and other fishing accessories to increase the exploitation of offshore fishing in the riverine communities in the region.
The interim administrator said the Commission had established two rice mills to boost Federal Government’s initiative of homegrown and self-sustainable rice production. “The rice mills are the 120 tons per-day Rice Mill at Elele-Alimini in Rivers State. This mill is currently being managed by Elephant Group for the Commission and the 10 tons per-day Rice Mill at Mbiabe Ikpe in Akwa Ibom State.”
He added that NDDC in collaboration with the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was carrying out a Livelihood Improvement Enterprise programme in the Niger Delta Region to remove over 45,000 youths and women from poverty through various creative agricultural enterprises.
According to him, the NDDC has proposed to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to upgrade and re-activate some fishing terminals in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Ondo and Delta states, to increase quality of fish processing in the region.
The NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Dr. Ibitoye Abosede, said that under the current interim administration and management, NDDC was focused and determined to promote modern agricultural practices in the country.
Earlier, the Chairman of Rivers State Chapter of Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria, Clapton Ogolo, said the association chose to focus on the theme: “Aquaculture, a true business opportunity, empowerment and economic development.”
He said the association would continue to contribute to maintaining and sustaining food security in Rivers State and Nigeria as a whole, noting: “A fragile society is a society that cannot provide food for her citizenry. Its citizens will be prone to all sorts of negativities.
“Agriculture is pivotal to the development and sustenance of every society. This underscore the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2, which focuses explicitly on food by seeking to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”