President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Saturday, inaugurated a poultry farm established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in Yobe State, saying that the government has committed more resources to develop agriculture than past administrations.
This is contained in a statement on Sunday by his media aide, Ola Awoniyi.
He spoke on Saturday at the inauguration of a poultry farm which the National Agricultural Land Development Authority, established at Gasamu, in the Jakusko Local Government Area of Yobe State.
The Senate President said: “We have promised to diversify the economy of this country. For more than 50 years, our economy had been dependent on one single commodity and that is oil.
“Oil does not provide so many employment opportunities. There could be revenues but definitely not the mainstream opportunities in terms of employment. But when you diversify into agriculture, you would have much more people engaged, especially our youths who today are largely unemployed or underemployed.
“So we are diversifying the economy of Nigeria through agriculture and we have done so much as a country, as a government, in the last six years or so.
“No previous administration in Nigeria has committed as much fund, resources in agriculture than this administration. And I stand to be contradicted, that if not because of resources that we have put in agriculture sector, Nigeria would still have been importing the food that we eat.
“But everyone knows that the rice import bill had gone so low, almost to nothing today. We used to spend billions of dollars every year to import rice but we have been producing the rice that we eat.
“Of course we still have to work to stop the smuggling of rice into Nigeria. But I want to assure you that the APC administration at all levels of government, from the local government to the state and federal government, will continue to work for diversification of the Nigerian economy.
“Only last month, the National Bureau of Statistics released the report that our economy has grown by 5.01 per cent in GDP. That is to show that we are making progress. We are not yet there but we will be there by the Grace of God and all indications are there that we will be there.”
Lawan commended Buhari for the approval to establish the farm.
“This is one way of doing that and this is a very practical way of doing it. We have our youths who will be engaged. Presently, 30 youths will be engaged to manage the farm”.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Paul Ikonne said the farm was established on the mandate of Buhari in order to empower the youths and get the country closer towards achieving food security.
He said, “Mr President has directed NALDA to make agriculture attractive for our youths and for NALDA to produce what we are to eat and for Nigerians to eat what we produce.
Punch with Joy Ushie