By Sunday Iduh
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said Nigeria has not been able to tap the opportunities in agriculture. He noted that investment in processing will give the people opportunities to make wealth.
The governor stated this Thursday at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi during a courtesy call by the Project Team, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) Nigeria.
Governor Ortom assured the delegation of the support of the government and people of the state, stating that, the state remains the best land for any investment as it remains committed to every course that will reduce climate change and bring development to her people.
“I thank you for choosing Benue to be among the pilot states. I assure you that you will not be disappointed. Benue with its arable land of 96 percent and with two rivers, Rivers Benue and Katsina Ala, we have advantage to continue to maintain our status as the food basket of the nation. My government will support you full time,” he stated.
He commended the Special Adviser on SSGs, Prof. Magdalene Dura for her dedication to the development of the state and aknowledged the impact the (AUDA-NEPAD) project will bring to the state.
Earlier, in a remark, National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer, AUDA-NEPAD Nigeria, Gloria Akobundu disclosed that with the impact of the COVID-19 and the Russian-Ukraine war, Africa remains the next destination for the world economy. “If we can harness all the opportunities that abound in Nigeria, Africa will be better for it,” she added.
She explained that they were in the state as part of the Innovative Strengthening of Smallholders Farmer and Productive Land Restoration project which was introduced two and half years ago whose vision is to ensure that Nigeria reclaim her land from desertification, produce enough food for herself and for export.
Akobundu, who said few states were selected as pilot states said, Benue was one of the selected states. She explained that the project was designed to cushion hunger and economic melt down, foster development, inject forest into the economy which will grow the economy of states like Benue and the country.
“We are very pleased to be in Benue State, the food basket of the nation. We will not be talking about strengthening the smallholders farmers, food security and eradicating poverty, growing our trees without a state like Benue.
“Benue State is one of the richest in terms of food production. They feed the nation and any food you don’t get here, you can not get it any where in the world,” she noted.
She said if the arable land in Nigeria and Africa, the man power and the technical know how were properly harnessed, the world would not be worried about food security.
Speaking during the courtesy call, the Chief Executive Officer of Spades, Raymond Mernard acknowledged that climate change was a growing disaster in the entire world, stating that everyone was aware of it but do not feel the effects because it happens little by little. He called for synergy amongst nations to overcome the challenges by going into massive planting of trees, in order to improve the soil and restore food security.
On his part Chief Executive Officer of 3D-AG, Jeffrey Wexler maintained that deforestation is leading to massive desertification and said the loss of trees was affecting the country.