Food production: Rivers to empower 20,000 youths with loans

Amaka Agbu, Port Harcourt

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has declared that his administration would encourage youths to embrace agriculture through the provision of necessary loan facilities.

Speaking during the celebration of this year’s World Food Day in Port Harcourt on Monday, Governor Wike said that his administration was partnering with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that 10,000 youths between the ages of 18 and 35 access the agriculture loans.

Represented by the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Sir Kenneth Kobani, the governor noted that another 10,000 youths would be empowered through a partnership arrangement with Siat Nigeria Limited.

He said: “As a government, we will continue to encourage our people to go into agriculture and exploit the opportunities of agriculture.

“We will continue to support ventures and give facilities to our youths for agricultural purposes. This is to ensure that farming is made profitable across the state “.

The governor said that the more Rivers people were able to reap the benefits of agriculture, the better for the state.

“Agriculture alone can employ more people than any other business. The oil industry is nowhere near the agricultural sector. Agriculture has the capacity to employ millions.
What we are doing is to reduce the dependency on oil for the sustenance of our economy. The potentials of agriculture in Rivers State are infinite”, Wike said.

The governor said that his administration would continue to work with farmers to ensure that the state enjoys the required food security.

“No country in the world becomes great without feeding her people, ” he said.

In an address, Rivers State Agriculture Commissioner, Mr Iheanyichukwu Nwaorgu, said that the partnership between the Rivers State Government and CBN wold focus on two key areas –palm produce and fishery.

He said the 10,000 youths, who would receive the loan facility on this programme will focus on the two areas.

The World Food Day celebration witnessed the mass exhibition of food by farmers from the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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