By Nick Dugba
The Taraba State Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr David Ishaya Kassa, has cleared the doubts of Tarabans on the Jalingo greenhouse project which has generated a lot of controversy and mixed reactions especially on the social media since its establishment in 2015.
Kassa was reacting to allegations of poor welfare by some workers of the project and the claim by others that the project was a misplaced priority by the present administration.
Speaking with TaraVoices at the Government House Jalingo recently, Kassa mentioned the benefits of the greenhouse to the State to include, employment generation, revenue earner, provider of capacity for farmers and students of agriculture in the State, among others.
“You know in this country, most of our vegetables are being imported. We want to replace those markets- instead of importing vegetables, let’s produce them in Taraba so that we can earn foreign exchange. Apart from that, if you go to the greenhouse, you will find out that over 200 of our youths are already employed. That is to say, part of the vision of the greenhouse is being fulfilled by tackling the issue of unemployment of our youths.
Then, the location of the greenhouse is within the university and college of agriculture; most a times, you will see our students going on excursion to see how best these crops are being produced. Now they have them at their backyard. Now they can come and see how these crops are being produced under very high agronomic practices. That is why we say there will be technology transfer”, Kassa declared.
He exonerated the Government from allegations of poor welfare by the workers saying the contractors were still in charge of the project and so could decide on what to do with any worker, but gave the assurance that once the project was completed and handed over, the welfare of the workers would be taken care of.
“You know the greenhouse is not yet owned by the State. It is still under construction. It is the contractor that has the right to decide who would work for them. But by the time they have completed the work, that is when we would retain some of these graduates and they will do their professional work.
“But as it is now, you have to go by what the contractors say. By the time it is handed over to us, any person working there would be under the terms and conditions of the Taraba State Government. As it is now, they are under the contractor’s payroll, later on we would receive them and all the condition of service of Taraba State Government would apply to them”, he added.