Taraba state Governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku says his administration will intensify efforts in the construction of more rural roads across the state.
Governor Darius Ishaku stated this today while speaking to newsmen at the Jalingo Airport on the outcome of an interactive seminar between Northern Governors and PROFUTURO Group shortly on arrival from Abuja.
The interactive seminar was aimed at revitalizing education and farming at the rural areas.
He said Taraba state is a fertile ground for Agricultural activities hence the need to construct more access roads so that more people in the state can go into full flesh Commercial Agriculture with a view to bettering their livelihood.
Darius Ishaku pointed out that, rural areas in the northern part of the country are fertile ground for Agricultural activities and equally blessed with a large chunk of mineral deposits and stressed that there is the urgent need to embark on the construction of access roads to facilitate the movement of such Agricultural produce to urban centers.
The Governor revealed that his administration has already started dry season rice farming in Karim Lamido, adding that efforts are being made to enlarge the numbers by involving more farmers at the rural areas across the state in order to boost rice farming in the State.
Darius Ishaku mentioned that he has already informed the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo of the capability of Taraba state to produce the rice requirement of the country if the enabling working tools and capital are available for farmers in the state and revealed that the Vice President has assured him of Federal support where necessary.
As part of the matching order by the Federal Government to encourage rice farming in the north, the Governor said, he in company of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Audu Ogbe and TY Danjuma Foundation who are partners in the rice farm initiative in Gassol local Government area Dominion Farms, visited the American Embassy to help prevail on the American farmer, Calvin Burgess to resolve their impasse for the project to commence in earnest.
The Taraba state Governor believes that if the issue is resolved and the Dominion Farm commences farming, it will significantly reduce rice importation into the country and further boost the capacity of local farmers in the state through modern rice cultivation.
Accordingly, Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku used the opportunity to appeal to people of the state to imbibe the attitude of living in peace with one another, positing that no human being has the right to take another man’s life, saying there are better ways of resolving issues to promote lasting peace togetherness.
Taraba Rice Production
Governor Darius Ishaku has assured Tarabans of his administration’s resolve towards making the state a major supplier of rice in the country. The Governor made the remarks during Sunday service at the Christian Reformed Church Nigeria CRCN Kubwa, Abuja.
He said the state is blessed with fertile land suitable for rice production which must be utilized by his government. Governor Ishaku emphasized that he is working assiduously towards revamping the health sector by revitalizing General hospitals in the three senatorial zones to ameliorate the sufferings of the people through effective health care delivery.
The Governor maintained that he has also started the process of the second phase of his women and Youth empowerment program with the successful graduation of the first set. He stressed that the Education, water and other sectors have also been rescued through his leadership.
Governor Darius decried the breakdown of peace in some local government in the southern part of the state and called on Tarabans to always embrace peace for the development of the state. In his message to the congregation, Reverend Gabriel Gamsare advised Christians to always forgive one another.
The Clergy who read from the book of Matthew chapter eighteen verses fifteen to seventeen and other chapters narrated that in the perilous time it is necessary to forgive.
He identifies processes of forgiveness to include, reconciliation between both parties before engaging third parties and the church. The service featured special prayers for Governor Darius Ishaku and his wife Anna Ishaku for the restoration of peace in some local government of the state and the state as a whole.
Chief of Staff Government house administration Rebo Usman, Permanent secretary Liaison office Abuja Jeji Williams and other aides accompanied the Governor to the church service.
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State yesterday flag off the sale of fertiliser to farmers at a subsidise rate to boost farming activities in the state.
Ishaku who performed the flag off and free distribution of improved seedlings of sesame, rice, soya beans, maize and cassava stems as well as modern rice threshers at a ceremony held at the Gym Hall of Jolly Nyame stadium in Jalingo said the aim was to boost agricultural production, reduce poverty and create jobs in the state.
“My aim is to make Taraba a leading state in agricultural production in the north east subregion. I am determined to make agriculture a whole mark of my administration because 80 percent of our people are farmers so, supporting them will go a long way in reducing poverty and creating jobs.
“Sesame seed (beniseed) is highly needed in China and other countries of the world, so we have acquired the improved variety of its seedlings a long side other crops for distribution to farmers because we have a good soil for their cultivation.
“I am happy that our partnership with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and FADAMA III is yielding result and we have made tremendous progress in dry season farming like never before, I will continue to provide farming inputs to farmers to boost production,” he said.
The governor who said IFAD was constructing 7 km feeder roads each in Wukari and Karim Lamido local government areas of the state as part of the partnership agreement, expressed hope that soon a good number of Taraba people would soon become millionaires through farming.
He announced plans by the state government to establish cocoa grading centre in Takum under Public Private Partnership (PPP), saying the move would include Taraba on the list of cocoa producing states and stop the practice where people buy Taraba cocoa and re-brand it to their advantage.
On the state of Tractor Hiring Agency, Ishaku said the experiment has failed to meet the expectations of the people and that he would empower cooperatives directly by giving them tractors without necessarily passing through Tractor Hiring Unit for efficiency.
The governor warned against diversion of the farm inputs and implements, adding that anyone found wanting in the process would be jailed.
Responding on behalf of farmers, Mr. Tanko Bobo who was given a rice thresher at the ceremony thanked the governor for his intervention, saying the move would help Taraba farmers to meet the food demand of the country especially rice and other staple food.
“Your Excellency you have 80 percent of Taraba voters in your pocket by this gesture. I want to assure you that 4+4 of your tenure is sealed because we Taraba farmers with 80 percent of the population are with you.
“Let INEC fixed date for 2019 election and we will return you to government house for another 4 years, ” he said.
Our correspondent reports that the state government procured 30 metric tonnes of fertiliser at the cost of N6000 per bag and subsidised it to N4, 500 to reduce the burden on local farmers.
By Nick Dugba.
Taraba state can supply almost the entire Ten million metric tons of rice the entire nation consumes if the state can organize itself and plan.
This disclosure was made to journalists by the Taraba state governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, during his recent visit to Karim Lamido, where he inspected several rice farms as part of his thank you visit to the people of the state for supporting him during the elections and the court cases he has undergone.
The governor was optimistic that Taraba could feed the whole country which imports about 10 million metric tons of rice.
Here are the full excerpts of the interview.
This area has huge dry season potentials, is there any way the State Government can come in and support dry season farming?
Already we are supporting them! What you are seeing here is State government support and I decided to visit here to see the progress and we are working on making sure we can get some powerful hydro pumps so that we would be able to come up here from the River Benue and that would increase the acreage. I understand we have more than 4000 hectares and we hope that by next year, we would double, because Taraba can feed the nation. The country is importing about 10 million metric tons of rice and Taraba can supply almost that quantity of rice if we can organize ourselves properly. This is a very good beginning and I am impressed and congratulating the farmers.
We have a similar project in Gassol, what are you doing about it?
I am working assiduously on Gassol project. In the next six months, Gassol should take off. Before December, they should be selling paddy rice from Gassol itself. So it’s not as if we have forgotten, but the acre here is bigger than Gassol. So Gassol can be feeding the mill. We are going to expand both and like I said earlier, Taraba state can be in a position to provide the country with rice.
Is there any long term plan to take Taraba out of the dependence on federal allocation using rice as a kick starter?
That is the beginning! Not only rice but also solid minerals. We are graduating to tourism. All these are what would get us out of federal government funding. But we need planning. We need finance. We are getting some assistance from the federal government particularly on the rice because it is a high foreign exchange earner. Not only rice, we are going into cocoa,coffee, palm oil; these are very good revenue earning crops that we have in abundance in Taraba state.
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.
By Nick Dugba
Taraba, which is mostly an Agricultural State and prides itself as the ‘Nature’s Gift to the Nation’ is about to experience a turnaround in agriculture, thereby boosting its economic standing in the committee of States in Nigeria.
Green House Project
The reason for this revolution is no other venture than the gigantic green house project situated within the premises of the Taraba state University and the State College of Agriculture in Jalingo.
The project was initiated by the Rescue Administration of Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, with the initial capacity to produce four exotic crops- cucumber, lettuce, pepper and tomatoes.
It promises to be the first greenhouse in the entire north east sub region and the largest in the country. It sits on five hectares of land with an installed capacity to house fifteen greenhouses. Currently, eight of them have been completed while the remaining are still under construction.
The project was contracted to Onida Development Ltd, an Israeli company, which hopes to construct the project, train the needed personnel and handover the project to the owner- the Taraba state government, in the future.
Established in August 2015 by the Darius Ishaku government, the green house is worth N2 Billion and according to the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr David Ishaya Kassa, N900 Million has so far been sunk into the project which is about 65 to 70 per cent completed.
Does Taraba Need a Greenhouse?
A lot of politicking had characterized the establishment of a greenhouse in the state with some claiming it shouldn’t be a priority of government. But if we are to go by the business principle of need assessment, a greenhouse is indeed needed for several reasons.
One fact that can’t be debated is the fact that the state hardly produced vegetables which are basic dietary requirements for the people and a greenhouse can serve as not only a source for vegetables but create capacity for farmers who would like to engage in vegetable farming. Vegetables like cabbage, carrots, lettuce, cucumber and so on are mainly brought into the state from elsewhere and a greenhouse might fill that gap.
Secondly, it may serve as a source of employment for the youths and revenue generation for the state as the Commissioner rightly pointed out.
Cucumber from Green House Project
“Apart from supplying the vegetables of international quality, we intend to also take it to other cities. 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 forex. 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 this greenhouse is being fulfilled by tackling the issue of unemployment of our youths”.
Besides that, Kassa added saying “the location of the greenhouse is within the university and the College of Agriculture. Most a times, you will see our students going on excursion to see how 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 and best agronomic practices. That’s why we say there will be technology transfer”.
Facts About the Greenhouse You May Not Know
Following the establishment of this development masterpiece, a lot of misconceptions, politics, rumours and ignorance have threatened the smooth running of the project.
Some people have speculated that the project is privately owned,while some workers at the site have complained of unfair treatment by authorities of the greenhouse. As a matter of fact, some of them who couldn’t cope with the condition of service of the organization contracted to run the project, have since looked elsewhere.
One of the newly employed workers who pleaded anonymity, complained of the N25,000 monthly pay as too meagre considering the labour involved in the greenhouse.
The mother of one and a HND graduate from the College of Agriculture, Jalingo, regretted the fact that there was no special consideration given to graduates as all workers irrespective of their educational status, are thrown into the greenhouse to do the same menial work. As a result of this circumstances, several workers had quited earlier than expected.
The Site Manager of the project, James Uchenna, however praised the governor for his commitment towards seeing that the project succeeded. He disclosed that the issues of water and electricity had been taken care of by the governor.
“He has delivered on the issue of water and power. On the issue of security, nobody has ever in any guise harassed us. So I must commend him for that. Then also the workers; most of them came here very raw but they were exposed and I can tell you now, we have three greenhouses and they are working there”, he revealed.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, David Ishaya Kassa, on his part debunked claims of Ill- treatment meted on workers, stressing that the reason workers are having issues is because the government is not yet in full control of the project. He however gave the assurance that the future will be bright.
“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 would do their professional work.
“But as it is now, you have to go by what the contractor would say. Most of them are on casual basis because they are still constructing the greenhouses. 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”, the Commissioner assured.
He attributed the claims and speculations to ignorance. “May be the people did not understand it very well. 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”.