Agriculture and Rural Development in Kogi State, a Good Way to Start by Comrade Ibrahim Okeji AbdulAzeez

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...On a conference by Kogi Youth Power Shift (KYPS) agitators tagged: Way Forward for the Present Administration.

According to Comrade AbdulAzeez, an Agriculturist by profession and a successful agribusiness man, Agriculture holds the ace when it comes to empowerment of our people.  It is the simplification of nature’s food webs and the rechanneling of energy for human consumption. Agriculture involves redirecting nature’s natural flow of the food web.

Rural development on the other hands could be an overall development of rural areas to improve the quality of life of rural people. It is an integrated process, which includes social, economical, political and spiritual development of the poorer sections of the society.

Major areas that require the present government intervention are:

1. FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE: Our natural water resources can be developed to provide our protein needs, create jobs along the value chains and for export. The State government should compel President Muhammadu Buhari to see the dredging of River Niger to its logical conclusion. Also, Fish hatchery should be focused to feed the large no of fish rearers in our neighboring States and the FCT. Tank fishing and ponds technology could same time be propagated among our youths as agribusiness, while processing facilities provided for use at minimal rates to prevent waste or glut.

2. TREE CROPS AND AGRO-FORESTRY: Cashew, Oil palm, castor, Teak and GMelina should be leveraged upon. Nigeria presently imports palm oil from Malaysia. Kogi as a state can fill this domestic gap as our geographical location is an added advantage. Government should provide hybrid of these tree crops to our people and commercial farmers for cultivation massively; and thus we will get sustainable livelihood source for our people.
Additionally, Governor Yahaya Bello should use his good office to procure more farm machineries and tractors in order to remove drudgery from agriculture where farmers, individual or cooperatives can use them at a subsidized rate.

3. FOOD CROPS PRODUCTION: Nigeria presently imports palm oil from Malaysia. We as a state can fill this domestic gap and our geographical location is an added advantage. Need I mention the benefits of cashew as cash crop?

The average age of our farmers is 55 years, according to a recent research. Therefore, urgent action is needed to entice and incentivize the youth into agriculture. It should be Agriculture as business and NOT farming.

4. YOUTH IN AGRICULTURE: Kenya as a country earns it highest foreign income from this sector. We have to borrow a leaf from that. Surely this is a goldmine waiting to be tapped for nutrition and quick fix in terms of poverty alleviation and empowerment. As a matter of fact, several employments could be generated via Agribusiness development which are but not limited to area like, Beef and Diary production, Seeds and seedlings production, agro processing, Extension Management, mechanization, and marketing.

While buttressing his points, the Financial Secretary to KYPS and Okehi L.G based Political activist, Comrade Kekere Elijah said, the government should grant loans to farmers at a subsidized rate to enhance commercial farming. He further borrows words from the last inaugural speech of President Muhammadu Buhari where he echoes that; the critical role of agriculture in generating jobs for numerous Nigerians can never be overemphasized. Comr Kekere cited several instances in alliance with Comrade AbdulAzeezs epistle that could be of help to His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Adoza Bellos regime.

In complementing his points, the Secretary representing Central axis, Comrade Musa Ado Ibrahim added that, In Kogi state, there is need to establish strong linkages between different sectors of our economy especially with regards to promoting industrialization and manufacturing that is focused on turning our agricultural products and other natural resources into quality semi processed and fully processed goods.

He said, through rural development on the other hands, provisions of essential infrastructures i.e. Roads, water and electric power, our men and women could be aided to gain for themselves, and their children more of what they want and need. This will drive the growth expected in the agricultural sector.

Seemingly, it will help the poorest among those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas to demand and control more of the benefits of rural development. The groups are small scale farmers, tenants and the landless. To help out this, we beg the leadership of his Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello to support our fellow brothers and sisters out there who have zeal for agriculture or farming to empower them. This could be accomplished via provision of loans, monetary empowerment, provision of fertilizers; aiding them through mechanizes farming and so on.

Administered by the State Coordinator, Prince Suleiman Adinoyi


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