About 10, 000 youths arebilled to benefit from Rivers state government new agro-development planaccording to the state government. The successful would be empowered and trainedin commercial agriculture.

Buoyed with the newN5billion loan facility already authorised for agricultural development by thestate House of Assembly, last Wednesday, the state policy blueprint onagriculture aims to enhance and support commercial products of key agriculturalsectors of crop farming, fish and livestock production.

Also included in the plan is the revival of School-to-Land Programme, the establishment of demonstration farms and seed multiplication centres across the local government areas.

The aim is to integrate and support rural farmers in emerging commercial opportunities and revive moribund state-owned agro-allied industries through public-private partnership (PPP) programmes.

A statement by the state Ministry of Agriculture said, “the cheer today is that His Excellency, Chief Nyesom Wike, has proactively called for the revival of the agric sector with a view to galvanising an agric revolution in Rivers State.”

The statement added that “the thrust of his vision is to make Rivers State an agriculturally-viable economy that would lead to an exponential increase in food production, employment generation and agro-business opportunities.”

According to thestatement, the new stimulus package is being done through Central Bank ofNigeria (CBN) intervention initiative under the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP)together with a World Bank stimuli support (CARES) scheme.

It would be recalledthat last February, the state government, through the Ministry of Agriculture,commenced the registration of farmers and agro-allied cooperatives ahead of thetake-off of the programme.

It is gathered that over 3,000 farmers were registered before the Covid-19 pandemic-induced shutdown.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Magnus Kpakol, reveal that the scheme would be executed in phases, stressing, “we want to identify the real farmers, and at the same time, carry out a comprehensive assessment of the agric potentials of each local government. We can’t just give out the loans without accurate data and feasibility study.”

It is expected that in the next few months, the scheme would commence as over 10, 000 youths are expected to be engaged.