That Benue State is the Food Basket of Nigeria is indubitable. What remains the issue here is realizing the full potentialities of the state in its agricultural endowment so that the state does not remain just an empty basket without agricultural produce inside for the benefit of the citizens and other Nigerians.
It goes without disputation that Nature had so much endowed Benue State with abundance to not only meet the quality nutrition demand s of the citizens but also those of the larger Nigerian society with equally enough for the export market towards raising the revenue profile of the farming population and the state government.
However, much remains to be done in order for this dream to be actualized. First, in the face of the highly subsistent nature of agricultural activity owing much to the small scale nature of agricultural financing due to the large inaccessibility of farmers to credit facilities to expand and deepen involvement, the state government owes huge responsibility in facilitating the easing up of the stringent conditionalities attached to the accessing of credit facilities by farmers from financial institutions.
Another issue which had always stood against positively impacting on the economy of the people remains the perennial huge post-harvest waste which they face owing largely to the outmoded forms of storage and processing of agricultural produce to enhance their value chain in order to make agricultural activity more esteemed and more economically viable so that it would not only ensure return on investment but would equally ensure that all that goes in is worth the while of all who engage in it.
With the virtual absence of agro-processing investment to take care of the evident loopholes, the Benue Coalition of Business and Professional Associations, BENCOBPA, is seeking viable partnership with the state government towards cleansing the business environment to open up and widen opportunities for prospective investors especially in the agricultural sector given that it had observed the moving contributions of the Samuel Ortom administration in the agricultural sector.
BENCOBPA is however, insistent that the government should deploy its machinery to dismantle all the illegal roadblocks all over the state whose erectors engage in extortion of various levies and sundry taxes from buyers of agricultural produce, thus worsening the already sore issue of multiple taxation that was already hindering progress in the business environment and discouraging prospective investors.
The coalition would want the government to engage the misled able-bodied youths in dialogue for them to see reality in the discontinuation of their illegal activities and need for them to avail themselves to be imparted with useful skills to better their lives with skill for a brighter future. The government should also, engage the youths in its roads and other construction projects so that they would be meaningfully occupied to take them off idleness that usually made them useful and willing tools in the hands of some unscrupulous people that are always out to thwart worthy government efforts.
To give muscle to its readiness to be active partners with government in enlivening the business environment in the state, BENCOBPA is armed with the State Business Agenda, which is a vital tool for the business community in Benue State to encourage investment and stimulate business activities as well as economic growth. The development of the business agenda had provided the state business community with the opportunity within acceptable standards to effect public policy reforms by setting legislative and regulatory priorities and clearly communicating them to policy makers. This is another way of creating synergy for the private sector to present some of the concerns of the state business community to government functionaries in a more unified and credible voice for desirable consideration. It is with the overall objective of seeking for the betterment of the state economic cause that the Benue Coalition of Business and Professional Associations BENCOBPA will not relent in its desire to be a constant functional partner with the State government towards the realization of the Benue Economic Dream.
Just on Tuesday,23 February,2021, BENCOBPA had an interface with the Benue State commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Timothy Ijir where copies of the State Business Agenda and Research Report on concerns for Benue State Business Development were presented to the commissioner as encouragement for the government to strengthen its commitment to promoting the cause of agriculture as it had already demonstrated by pioneering the Benue State Agricultural Policy, which is aimed at making Benue State the destination point for all investors in the agricultural Enterprise at all levels of the value chain.
While receiving the valuable documents on behalf of the state government, the commissioner explained that the underlying passion for government interest in synergy was to make the state the destination point for investors in agriculture as already government activity in that sector had received positive commendation from the International Fund For Agricultural Development, IFAD.