Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to continue to provide the enabling environment for positive developments that will give agriculture its pride of place, making Delta State the food basket of the nation.
Governor Okowa gave the affirmation today during the 2021 World Food Day Celebration with the theme, “Our Actions are Our Future: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life”, held at the Cenotaph in Asaba the state capital.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Urban Renewal, Hon. Arthur Akpowowo, said that if the agricultural sector must be made more productive and food systems sustainable, we must all be prepared to invest massively in the sector to overcome the looming food crisis as predicted by the World Bank and other agencies.
According to Governor Okowa, “The State Government attaches high priority to agriculture which is evident in the many agricultural developments and projects going on across the state. We are expanding our agricultural policies beyond staple food production to include investments and research on nutritious crops.
“To ensure that all stakeholders are aided with the right policy and the needed environment… a new Delta State Agricultural Policy with a focus on agribusiness development and job creation, have been developed and approved for use in the State.
“It contains information on objectives and strategies that can be used to fully harness the rich agricultural potentials of the State to achieve food security, reduce malnutrition, create jobs, improve income and grow the economy of the State.
“…we are emphasising the involvement of youths in agriculture to create streams of youth empowerment and entrepreneurship development programmes especially in relation to job creation for youths and food security for all Deltans” Governor Okowa stated.
Governor Okowa also said that the Delta State Government was doing everything to ensure that farmers are safe and to ensure that all citizens of the State have right to a better life and better environment where people would be more freely involved in their chosen occupation without fear or molestation.
The Delta State governor said, “I have signed the Law on Delta State Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation to put an end to the incessant clashes between farmers and herders.
“I call on our farmers and agribusiness men and women to consider going into cattle ranching.” Even as he call on the Ministry of Agric to commence the promotion of modern Cattle Husbandry in the State, saying that this would reduce unemployment, boost our economy and the per capital incomes of the cattle breeders.
In his address, the Delta State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Julius Egbedi, said we all have a role to play from government to private companies, financial institutions, farmers, civil society, organizations, academia, women and youth to ensure that the transformation of our food systems, agribusiness development and food value chains, inclusiveness and marketability of our produce/products are achieved.
“We can collaborate with each other and empower ourselves to bring sustainable developments in the agribusiness chains from the farm to the table for better production, better nutrition and a better environment for a better life through stronger commitments and sheer determination to succeed.”
“There is a World Wide call for agriculturist and scientist to learn and focus on what is termed the “One health Approach” to food safety which recognises the connection between the health of people, animals and plants and the environment.
“It ensures that food and the environment remain safe from production to consumption. Unsafe food results in hunger, poverty, wastage of food, less nutrition for people, substandard food which cause disease and burden on government.
Highpoint of the event was the inspection of produce by different individual farmers, farmers associations, and cooperative societies.
Present at the event were the Commissioner for Finance, Sir Fidelis Tilije; the Commissioner for Youth Development, Comrade Ifeanyi Egwunyenga; the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mrs Florence Alanta; the Head of Service, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Mr Paul Osahor among others.