President Muhammadu Buhari says succour is on the way for farmers negatively impacted by the excessive rains of this year.
The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said in a statement in Abuja that the president made this known in his message to Farmers’ Day 2018 on Saturday at Yenagoa, Bayelsa.
The event was organized by Nigeria AGIP Oil Company for farmers in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Imo.
The President said: “Two weeks ago, the National Food Security Council met and we approved a compensation package for all flood impacted farmers and fishermen.
“I want to assure all flood affected farmers and fishermen that you will be helped. This government is with you in your time of need.
“As I speak to you now, the modalities for this compensation programme are being finalized and very soon, we shall start implementation.’’
The theme of the celebration is “Youths, Agents of Agricultural Development in the Niger Delta” and the president commended the organisers for the choice, remarking that “farming is the bedrock of the Nigerian economy.
“Our future economic prosperity hinges to a large extent, on how we modernize and expand our agriculture.’’
While underscoring the place of youths in developing agriculture, the president said: “Youths account for 62 per cent of our population.
“This group, full of energy and drive, are the catalyst that will steer Nigeria in the direction that will make us realize our full potential.
“For many years, our God-given resources have been abandoned, under-utilized or mismanaged. This is very apparent in the field of agriculture.
“In the past three years, we aggressively pushed the agricultural agenda with special emphasis on youth empowerment.
“Across many value chains, we are supporting meaningful projects in partnership with private sector players. This is the only way Nigeria can feed itself in a sustainable manner.’’
He said that his administration was working very hard to enable the youths actively participate in the nation’s agricultural revolution, and lauded the organisers and participants for responding positively to the call.
Buhari urged the youths to stay focused, saying that “active participation is a patriotic duty, whose success will create millions of jobs for many generations to come.
“We cannot afford to remain a mono-product economy, relying only on oil as our mainstay. We cannot continue feeding ourselves with imported food when God has blessed us with all the bountiful resources we need to feed ourselves.’’
He thanked farmers across the country for their resourcefulness, adding that the country was on course towards self-sufficiency in food.
He noted that the importation of rice, maize and other grains had significantly reduced, and disclosed that the Federal Government was working to revive the River Basin Authorities to plan for lean times.
On the excessive flooding, the president said “Floods are a natural phenomenon that man cannot control. I want to appeal to you all not to be dispirited, but to rise to the challenges.”
He reaffirmed that compensation would be paid soon to farmers that suffered reverses as a result of flooding during the year.