By Sunday Iduh & Margaret Oraza
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said the state will continue to sustain innovations that are aimed at encouraging and improving agricultural activities in the state, despite the security challenges which have negatively impacted the agricultural sector.
He stated this Saturday during the flag-off of the distribution of improved seeds to the 23 local governments areas in the state.
According to him, “food is a necessity. Every day we wake up, we need food. Benue State can not give up, irrespective of all the intimidations from herders. We will defeat them like our forefathers did in 1804.”
He urged the council chairmen to ensure that the improved seeds are given to genuine farmers. “Do not politicize the distribution. Look for committed farmers, who will be able to give us result, in order to boost the economy of the state,” he said.
The governor commended the Special Adviser for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr Kenneth Achabo for being consistent with the initiative which has recorded tremendous results.
Governor Ortom disclosed that there was deficiency in maize production in the state. “The maize being consumed in the state are brought from other states. I encourage people of the state to go into massive agriculture.
“I have never hidden my passion for farming even as a governor. Please, my people let us take advantage of what God has given to us which is farming,” he stated.
He advised the people to also go into large scale farming of cassava as the ethanol factories in the state were ready to patronize them as off-takers, stating that the operators of the two ethanol plants in the state were already complaining of cassava shortage.
The governor directed Barr Achabo to liaise with the Agriculture Departments of local governments in the state to organize a seminar for farmers, in order to broaden their knowledge in the agricultural sector.
Earlier, in a remark, Barr Achabo congratulated the governor for the consistent conduct of council polls since assuming office, pointing out that most states of the federation have not been able to conduct local council polls.
Achabo, who expressed appreciation to Governor Ortom for creating enabling environment for the bureau to thrive, urged the chairmen to ensure effective utilization of the seeds.
The Chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr Williams Ortyom, who was represented by a member of the committee, Geoffrey Agbatse, commended Governor Ortom for the rural transformation in the state, which he acknowledged will further boost the agricultural sector in the state.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Chairman, Association of Local Governments in Nigeria (ALGON) and Guma Local Government Council Chairman, Mike Ubah, appreciated the governor for the laudable initiative in collaboration with the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
He promised that the chairman will ensure that the real farmers in the local governments benefits from the improved seeds.
The improved seeds include, 6,900 bags of rice, 833 bags of maize, 1,000 tins of watermelon seeds, 333 bags of sorghum and 11,000 bundles of cassava stems.