NDDC urges government to develop agriculture

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PORT HARCOURT – Dr Godswill Amadi, Director, Agriculture and Fisheries Department, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said on Thursday that agriculture was key to the country’s economic diversification.

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Amadi stated this during the wrap-up of the 17th Supervision Mission to Community Based Natural Resource Management Programmes by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Port Harcourt.

He said the country’s economy could no longer depend solely on crude oil due to value depletion of the product in the international market and urged government to revitalise agro-based institutions.

Amadi said government’s investments in agriculture would effectively cushion the effects of crude oil price fall on the nation’s economy.

“Government should refocus on agriculture to reposition the country’s economic potential, as well as ensure food security, create employment and promote industrilasation, which drives national development.

“NDDC will continue to support IFAD programmes, which are focused on poverty alleviation, through agric-oriented programmes in the Niger Delta region,” he said.

In the same vein, Mr Olusola Oyebanji, of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, urged government at all levels to include IFAD counterpart funding in their agriculture budget.

He said the Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme (CBNRMP) initiated by IFAD has efficiently empowered small and medium scale agricultural enterprises in the region.

Oyebanji urged the Niger Delta state governments to set aside at least N5 million quarterly for the next three years to enhance effective implementation of agricultural development programmes by IFAD in the region.

He also urged lawmakers in the region to make laws that would support IFAD’s agricultural programmes so as to tackle the challenge of counterpart fund remittances and access to IFAD fund.

In a closing remark, Mrs Irene Ibeakuzie, IFAD National Programme Coordinator thanked the partners for a determined effort to alleviate the plight of the rural poor people in the region.
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She said the programme’s target, which was to feed 4,000 households, was a success and assured on IFAD’s plan to ensure programme sustainability.

She said knowledge gains from implementation of the CBNRMP would be effectively used to ensure smooth take-off of other programmes. (NAN)
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