President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to fulfill his administration’s agenda of diversifying the nation’s economy and making the agriculture sector a major channel of generating foreign exchange.
He made the pledge in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in a brief speech to mark the 21st Farmers’ Day celebration that took place over the weekend.
The president, in his comments, commended Nigerian farmers for their active roles in revamping the agriculture sector, describing them as critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s economic growth.
He said it was no longer logical for the country to rely solely on a sector to advance from its present stage of development, thus emphasising that his vision to make agriculture the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy remains on course.
“Since oil seems to be the cash cow of the Nigerian economy, we have no option but to return to agriculture as our mainstay. I wish you happy celebration and a productive planting season ahead. We need to return to old times, diversifying our economy can no longer be something we pay lip service to,” he said.
The 21st Farmers’ Day celebration, facilitated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company’s (NAOC) Green River Project witnessed the unveiling of a NAOC-Green River Project farm following a memorandum of understanding between the company and farmers signed last year.
In attendance were Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, who was represented by his Deputy, John Jonah.
In his remark, Bayelsa State Governor, through his deputy described farming as a sure path to the country’s prosperity and self-reliance. He also lauded the host company for the initiative.
”These actions by Agip, not only to get our farmers empowered but also trained are commendable. They have assisted in training and also empowering our young and old men as well as women who were once focused on oil as the only source of living”, he said.
Chairman of NAOC, Umberto Carrara, in his speech, thanked President Buhari for his goodwill message while pledging the company’s sustained support for food security in the country.