By Florence Ugbem
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has stressed the need for Nigeria to develop agriculture beyond the peasant level to pave the way for national growth and development to thrive.
Speaking during a courtesy call by the Association of Agro Processors and Fabricators Benue State, at the Benue People’s House, the governor maintained that the country can only develop when it engages in production and not remain a consumer.
He stated that, in order for national growth and development to thrive, the nation needs to engage in more of production than importation.
Represented by his deputy, Engr Benson Abounu, he called for improved method of farming and a paradigm shift from fabrication to molding, preferably the 3D molding system. “We need to engage the scientist, agricultural extension workers, Benue must explore the services of agriculture extension workers, we need to farm according to international standard,” he said.
Governor Ortom lamented over the high level of insecurity occasioned by herdsmen attacks, banditry and kidnapping that has posed serious challenge to farmers.
He also commended members of the association for their laudable initiative and promised the necessary support to help improve their products.
In a speech, leader of the association, Principal Special Assistant to Governor Ortom on Food Security and Nutrition, Mrs. Dorcas Ukpe, commended the governor for his contributions towards agricultural development in the state. She however, lamented the challenges faced by Benue farmers where their farm produce are destroyed, due to herdsmen attacks, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs. Ukpe disclosed that despite the impact of insurgency and COVID-19, Benue indigenes have risen to the challenge by fabricating and processing equipment that will add value to agricultural produce in the state.
Some of the fabricated machines showcased included: water treatment machine; melon seed peeling machine; machine for planting rice among others.