*Minister of State for Agriculture Visits Gombe
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
On Friday, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State received in audience, the minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri who was in the state to flag-off the distribution of farm inputs to small- holder farmers as part of Federal Government’s intervention to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs) Government House, Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli.
During the visit, Governor Yahaya informed the minister that, Gombe state, which is in the midst of all the north eastern states, is endowed with a lot of potentials with about 75 to 80 percent of its population engaging in farming activities.
These characteristics of the state, the Governor said, justify the urgency with which the people of the State need support to improve on their livelihood.
He stressed that the state suffers burden as a result of her geographical location.
“That has brought a lot of stress on our resources; agricultural, healthcare, infrastructure, water supply and so on. That has made us very vulnerable and we need the support of the federal ministry of Agriculture and all the federal ministries, departments and agencies for us to continue to shoulder that responsibility of displaced people and sustaining the means of livelihood of our people. 75 or 80 percent of our people are peasant farmers with a population of about 3.5 million people,”.
“Luckily we are blessed with the Dadinkowa dam, we are blessed with the Balanga dam and the Cham dam. These three dams and the other water bodies lying along the coast of the river Gongola make the State a very viable one for agricultural purposes”.
In addition to these features, Governor Inuwa Yahaya said the State is equally endowed with the Wawa Zange grazing reserve which is dubbed to be the largest in West Africa with a total land mass of a hundred and forty four thousand square hectares.
He said both the State and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture must work in synergy to consolidate on the Agricultural relationship which the Federal Government established with the State for many years.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya described the visit of the Minister of State for Agriculture as an indication that the FG is committed to not only giving interventions to farmers in the State, but also actualizing the Wawa zange grazing reserve project, urging the Minister to do more for the State for the benefit of the people.
“Post-covid, our people are really struggling to find their feet again so that they can move fast and catch up with the rest of the country. So we have to work together so that eventually we will achieve the purpose to which the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and indeed Federal Government through is chunning out for the benefit and welfare of our people”.
He said a concerted effort is needed to take the vast majority of the uneducated off the street, assuring the visiting Minister that the Gombe State Government will support any drive by the Federal Government to permanently engage the youths and women in the State.
The Governor said the State is sparing no effort towards the construction of both rural and urban roads network through its flagship project of network- eleven- hundred which seeks to build at least one hundred kilometres of road in each of the eleven Local Government areas of the State.
“Mentions have been made of roads of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, I don’t know where those roads are, may be they are part of the constituency project of the Federal legislators but I have not seen any road that is being put by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Gombe State. So honourable minister I think we need to know. We work together to achieve our common and collective goals”.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya said Gombe State is famous in the production of food and cash crops, describing the Gombe grains market as an attestation to the prowess of the State in agricultural activities.
He said through synergy with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, farmers in the State can have a guarantee for production and market, so that problems associated with farmers not getting value for their labour can be eliminated.
The Governor who restated his administration’s commitment to the development of Agriculture in the State, said upon assumption into office in May 2019, his Government did everything necessary to supply fertilizer to farmers in the State where each of the 114 wards of the State got at least one trailer load of the inorganic manure.
This, the Governor said, was in addition to last year’s timely distribution of 12 thousand tonnes of fertiliser to farmers in the State despite the covid-19 Pandemic.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya said for there to be any meaningful progress in the Agriculture sector, both the State and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture must work together through the honest and patriotic service of Nigerians whose sense of integrity cannot be bought or sold.
Earlier speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri said his ministry has the responsibility to promote and optimise Agricultural activities across the country as well as integrate rural development to transform the nation’s economy in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari which is to ‘produce what we eat and eat what we produce’.
The Minister said the farm inputs brought to farmers in Gombe State are free of charge, expressing the hope that beneficiaries will utilize them to boost Agricultural activities in the State, leading to food sufficiency.
Shortly after the courtesy visit Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya along side the Minister and some Government functionaries proceeded to the Gombe field office of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture where the Governor flagged off the distribution of the farm inputs to the cheers of the beneficiaries.