‘Nigeria’s future lies more on diversifying the economy’

The Federal Government has said that Nigeria’s future lies more on diversifying the economy, even as plans are underway to invest N70 million in fish production in Rivers and Bayelsa states, to raise the protein intake of the people and to further create employment opportunities for the youths in the states.

Akinwumi Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development, disclosed this recently while receiving the Ogoni Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers (OSCTR) led by Barnabas Bagia in Abuja, saying government had already spent N7.2 million to boost the sub-sector in both states.

According to Adesina, the funds would cover brook-stocks, fishing nets, fish feeds, storage and processing, assuring that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration was committed to “sustainable development that will diversify the economy, create jobs and revive the rural areas.”

The minister also assured the delegation of government’s commitment to farmers in Ogoniland and urged them to assist in mobilising the youths to embrace agriculture as a business, saying “we want youths to have access to land and farm inputs because the future of the Ogoni people is in agriculture. No fewer than 4.8 million youths enter the labour market every year and only agriculture can create jobs for them.

“The Federal Government plans to create 3.5 million jobs across all value chains by 2015. Government has moved from making agriculture a development project to a business.”

He informed that rice was one of the value chains being focused on by the government in Ogoniland, adding that the ministry had concluded plans to distribute high-yielding cassava tubers to 20,000 farmers in the two states.

Adesina also informed that no fewer than 5 million farmers would be covered by the new Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme for the provision of high quality seeds and fertiliser to boost harvest in the country. On environmental degradation and oil spillage in the region, the minister assured that the Federal Ministry of Environment was working to put an end to them.

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