…As panellists want Nigeria to secure farmers for food security
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Government has said the recently recovered fishing trawlers will boost agriculture in the state, the state commissioner for agriculture, Fred Kpakol, said.
He said the State government has recovered two out of the three missing fishing trawlers belonging to the State. He informed that, with the deployment of the two trawlers in industrial fishing, it will boost the state’s agricultural potential.
A fishing trawler is a commercial fishing vessel designed to operate fishing trawls. Trawling is a method of fishing that involves actively dragging or pulling a trawl through the water behind one or more trawlers. Trawls are fishing nets that are pulled along the bottom of the sea or in midwater at a specified depth.
Findings by Business A.M. indicate that a fibreglass commercial fishing boat sells for $10,000 to $50,000 a piece.
The absence of use of fishing trawlers by most farmers in the riverine Niger Delta region, coupled with devastating effects of oil spill had affected fishing business in the oil region. The area is thus set behind in a business it otherwise would have been the leader.
The commissioner who spoke at a conference and trade show in Port Harcourt, with the theme: “Financing and Developing Agriculture through Collaboration,” organised by Farmsby Limited and AgriTech & Digital Company, said, it was a pleasant thing that the fishing trawlers procured by the Peter Odili administration in 2006, and got missing for some years now, were finally recovered.
He said the state agriculture ministry will deploy the trawlers into use after some repairs, noting that investors have indicated interest to partner with the state government on deployment of the trawlers, which will increase the state’s fish production, as well as empower the youths.
Meanwhile, a panel discussion led by Francis Ajua from the United Nation Institute for Training and Agricultural Research (UNITAR) advised Nigerian farmers to up their effort to play deep on the agricultural global stage. They can achieve this by transforming their hitherto subsistence agriculture into a business venture – hence agribusiness.
The discussants called on the Nigerian federal government to provide enough security to farmers who threatened by grave insecurity; explaining that these have also soared food prices across the country leading to food scarcity.
Aquila Maurice Kalagbor, the Chief Executive Officer of Farmsby Limited, said, the company’s aim is to digitalise agriculture through value-chain and cutting-edge ideas; making life easy for farmers in Nigeria. He explained that their value-chain will start with the production of fertilizer, and will process agricultural products into finished goods.
He noted that everybody in the food chain has a challenge, saying, that the conference was aimed to bring everyone together like technical experts in agriculture, government officials, Bank of Agriculture (BoA), farmers and food vendors, to network; so that there will be food security in the country.
He said Farmsby Limited specializes in vegetable production and digital agricultural products. He particularly noted that many farmers lack credible information, the reason the conference invited the Bank of Industry (BoI) and Ministry of Agriculture to assist farmers in the Niger Delta region.
He advised government at all levels to invest in agriculture by providing agricultural extension staff to help farmers by sharing information on methods of cultivation, seedlings and access to loans, which would enable the farmers upgrade to international standards.
Kalagbor, a young entrepreneur, stated that soon his Farmsby will begin starch production for industrial use, which will create jobs. He assured that it will not compete with garri. He also delivered a paper on the topic: “Managing Agribusiness in Modern Nigeria,” where he reeled out new global methods of agribusiness.
Sunny Ada, the regional manager, Bank of Agriculture, speaking on: “Getting Financing from the Bank of Agriculture,” outlined the different products farmers can access the bank’s loans to boost food production and food sufficiency in the Niger Delta region away from crude oil.