Food Security: NDDC Moves To Partner RIFAN To Develop Agric

In a bid to work towards ensuring food Security and creating employment for our youths, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has signed into a partnership with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, as part of its efforts to ensure food security in the Niger Delta region.

Speaking during a strategic meeting between the Commission and a delegation from farmers association, led by the Deputy National president of RIFAN, Mr. Victor Korede, at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, recently, the
Managing Director of the commission, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, who was represented by the NDDC Executive Director, Projects, Sir Victor Antai, said that the Commission was ready to partner with RIFAN to develop agriculture in the region, especially in the area of rice cultivation.

Ogbuka, moreso, revealed that the Niger Delta region was endowed with the right ingredients for rice growing; hinting that the commission will seek for its best way to feed Nigeria and contribute to president’s agenda of self-sufficiency in food production.

He assured that he is determined to execute legacy projects that will impact positively and directly on the people of the region, while revealing that the commission is resolute in the quest to provide food security in the Niger Delta region.

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Furthermore, he noted that the commission is trying to move away from the oil economy and the sector which can accommodate the youths in large number in the agricultural sector. The also want to move from subsistent agriculture to mechanized farming in order to harness all the opportunities that the Niger Delta region has to offer, and youths also need to be engaged in agriculture in order to achieve this goal.

According to Ogbuku,: ‘The Niger Delta region, due to the arable wetlands, rainfalls and other ecological factors in its favour, provides the window to plant rice at least, twice within a farming season. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to engage the rice farmers meaningfully as they have shown a strong desire to grow more rice.

“With the new drive in NDDC, we are ready to go into partnership with RIFAN. We have two rice mills in Elele-Alimi, Rivers State and Mbiabet-Ikpe, Akwa Ibom State. We are interested in the smart agriculture approach of the farmers’ association.

“In fulfilling the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, the NDDC introduced a pet programme, known as Holistic Opportunities, Projects and Engagement, HOPE, which has agriculture as one of its key components.

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“The Project HOPE’ initiative seeks to engage youths of the region by creating employment opportunities for them. We have collated the data of the youths in the region and so many of them are interested in agriculture.

The Vice President, South South of RIFAN, Mr. Emmanuel Anoh, who spoke at the meeting, said the association was set to demonstrate that local production of food in sufficient quantity was possible in the country.

Anoh, stated that the NDDC was known for its timely interventions and empowerment and the rice farmers association thought it wise to collaborate with the Commission to work towards ensuring food security and creating employment for the youths.

“We are here to discuss partnership with the NDDC on how best the region can feed Nigeria and contribute to the President’s agenda of self-sufficiency in food production. Rice is a global staple crop eaten by every home at least, thrice a week.

“The Niger Delta Region has a comparative advantage on rice production, in comparison to other regions. With the massive arable land, favorable rain falls and other ecological factors that can boost rice production in the country, Niger Delta is the best choice”, Anoh explained.

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Meanwhile, much later, the NDDC Executive Director, Projects, led members of the rice farmers association to inspect the 180 tonnes per day Rice Mill at Elele Alimini in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.

In his words: “Following the directive of our Managing Director, we have been asked to get this rice mill working again, starting from rice cultivation, mill processing and packaging.”

By Aligwe Ugochi .U. P/H