President Muhammadu Buhari has assured farmers affected by flood this year of adequate compensation.
In a message to Farmers’ Day 2018, held today, Saturday at Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, organized by Nigeria AGIP Oil Company for farmers in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Imo States, the President said that the economic prosperity of Nigeria lie on agriculture.
He acknowledged that floods are a natural phenomenon that man cannot control, even as he appealed to farmers not to be dispirited, but to rise to the challenges.
“Two weeks ago, the National Food Security Council met and we approved a compensation package for all flood impacted farmers and fishermen. I want to assure all flood affected farmers and fishermen that you will be helped.
“This government is with you in your time of need. As I speak to you now, the modalities for this compensation programme are being finalized and very soon, we shall start implementation.”
President Buhari commended the theme for the Farmers’ Day, which is, Youths, Agents of Agricultural Development in the Niger Delta, saying that farming is the bedrock of the Nigerian economy.
“Our future economic prosperity hinges to a large extent on how we modernize and expand our agriculture.”
Buhari acknowledged the space which youths occupy in the development of agriculture, adding: “youth account for some 62% of our population. This group, full of energy and drive, are the catalyst that will steer Nigeria in the direction that will make us realize our full potential.
“For many years, our God-given resources have been abandoned, under-utilized or mismanaged. This is very apparent in the field of agriculture. In the past three years, we aggressively pushed the agricultural agenda with special emphasis on youth empowerment.
“Across many value chains, we are supporting meaningful projects in partnership with private sector players. This is the only way Nigeria can feed itself in a sustainable manner. We are working very hard to enable the youths actively participate in this agricultural revolution, and I take this opportunity to congratulate you all on responding positively to this call.”
The President advised the youths to stay focused, reminding them that active participation is a patriotic duty that would result into creating millions of jobs for many generations to come.
“We cannot afford to remain a mono-product economy, relying only on oil as our mainstay. We cannot continue feeding ourselves with imported food when God has blessed us with all the bountiful resources we need to feed ourselves,” he said.
The President thanked farmers across the country for their resourcefulness, even as he said that the country is on course towards food self-sufficiency, adding that the importation of rice, maize, and other grains had significantly reduced.
He said that the Federal Government is working to revive the River Basin Authorities, in order to plan for lean times.