The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said the Federal Government will partner with Taraba state Government to improve Agriculture in order to attain food sufficiency in the country.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo said this today at the premises of Taraba Greenhouse farm during the commissioning of the multi-billion Naira project established by Taraba state government for the cultivation of vegetables for the state and the country.
The Vice President maintained that Agriculture is the only surest means to engaging the youth productively and free the country from the present recession, saying that the country will soon be on the part of greatness if Agricultural activities are enhanced across the country.
He noted that with what he has seen on ground, the Federal Government will support Taraba state Government considering the drive and dynamism employed and stressed that this is what the country needs at the moment.
“One of the thing that emerges, is that, Nigeria has all the talents, all the kind of resourcefulness, hard-working people, determined people that can make our country easily the greatest in Africa and certainly one of the best in the world.
I think that what we have seen in Taraba, and the young people working here, it can only tell us one thing, that we haven’t started yet, we haven’t even begun yet, when the world sees us, technology wise, no one will believe that it is the same Nigeria. This country is surely on the path to greatness and I am completely convinced that we will thread that path.
We have been working with several state Governments, especially in the area of Agriculture, because we believe very strongly that Agriculture is the way out of the recession and it is also the pivot for our economic recovery and growth plan.
We believe that Agriculture is what will provide the majority of jobs and agro processing which will also provide excellent opportunities,” he said.
Accordingly, the Vice President said he was impressed with the Greenhouse project and stressed that this is a typical example of the opportunities that Agriculture can provide and that the present administration is poised to build roads to link one Agricultural hotbed to the other.
Yemi Osinbajo remarked that Federal Government is committed to partnering with state Governments that are serious and hardworking and said he is confident Taraba can produce all that the nation needs in term of food and other Agricultural needs.
He further commended Governor Darius Ishaku for the giant strides recorded in the state and attributed it to his ingenuity and resourcefulness and added that the Greenhouse is a victory of technology particularly in the production of high quality vegetables all year round and at the moment the vegetables are being consumed in Abuja, Lagos, Porthcourt and Kaduna states.
In his speech, the Governor of Taraba state, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku told the Vice President that Taraba state has comparative advantage in Agriculture, particularly in rice farming, saying that rice is being farmed twice a year in the state.
Darius Ishaku said if given the desired support from the Federal Government, Taraba can confidently feed the whole of Nigeria with rice and therefore will save Nigeria about 8 billion dollars that is being regularly spent on the importation of foreign rice every year.
The Governor informed the Vice President that Taraba is blessed with all climatic conditions which makes it favourable to cultivate all kinds of crops, explaining that, the Highland is suitable for the cultivation of Tea, Coffee and cocoa, in the middle we have groundnuts, rice, cotton, sorghum and in the lowlands we have palm oil and the famous rosewood which is popularly called mandril wood among others.
He noted with pride that Agriculture is the backbone of Taraba state and every possible avenue is being explored to support the local farmers with farm imputs and impliments and the distribution of over 5 million improved cassava stems.
The Taraba state Governor said Taraba state which is referred to as the nature’s gift to the nation has huge potentials in tourism, particularly, Gashaka which has the largest natural park in West Africa, the kashimbilla Dam and many others.
Other projects the Governor informed the Vice President included the Jalingo Primary water scheme which is expected to gulp over N6 billion, restored water in Wukari, Ibi, Zing and have so far sunk over one hundred and fifty boreholes across town and villages in the state and appreciated JAICA for assisting Taraba state government with drilling rig.
He pleaded with the Vice President to assist the state by reimbursing the over 30 billion Naira used in the construction of federal roads in the state and appealed to the Federal Government to allow the state to take possession of the silo in state so that it would be used by TAPMA to store grains that would be bought from farmers.
In his contribution, the Taraba state Deputy Governor, Engr. Haruna Manu solicited for support from the Federal Government so that the current Agricultural revolution ongoing in the state will be enhanced.
Haruna Manu impressed on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency put the Kashimbila Dam to use and to also commence work at the Mambila Hydro Power Dam in Gembu so that the current perennial power supply in the country will a thing of the past.
Earlier in his speech, the state Commissioner of Agriculture, David Ishaya Kassa said Taraba is a unique state in the country flowing with milk and honey and coupled with its unequaled beauty and lots of potentials in Agriculture.
David Kassa said since the Governor took over the mantle of leadership in the state a road map has been designed which covers outgrowers scheme, provision of improved seedlings, particularly, the rice value chain, the establishment of cocoa grading center in Takum, negotiation with Dangote group of companies has been completed to begin sugarcane farming and the prompt payment of counterpart funds among other.
The Israeli contractor handling the project commended the resilience of Governor Darius Ishaku for working Relentlessly to ensure that the project comes to reality and expressed optimism that the Greenhouse project will launch Taraba state to limelight.
The contractor assured that they will continue to give Taraba state desired technical expertise, saying that engaging in Agriculture is the most vibrant and fastest means of development and self reliance and stressed that it is the only potential that has the capability to accommodate large chunk of people and added that with Agriculture nothing is impossible.
The projects commissioned by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, included; Tanks and reservoirs, Roadblock to Kona road and the Taraba Greenhouse project.