Farmers affected by flooding this year received cheery news yesterday. President Muhammadu Buhari said plans had been concluded to duly compensate them.
Buhari, in a recorded goodwill message to mark the 22nd Farmers’ Day celebration of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), regretted the floods that impacted negatively on farmers and fishermen across the country.
The celebration, which attracted hundreds of farmers from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Imo states under the auspices of NAOC’s Green River Project (GRP) held at NAOC-GRP Farms, Igbogene, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
Heads of other oil companies, captains of industries, contractors, traditional rulers and other stakeholders attended the event, which was spiced by performances from traditional dancers and “Port Harcourt Boy” crooner, Duncan Mighty.
Describing flood as a natural disaster, the president assured the flood-impacted farmers that his administration was with them in their time of need.
He said: ”Two weeks ago, the National Food Security Council met and we approved a compensation package for all flood impacted farmers and fishermen.
“I want to assure all flood affected farmers and fishermen that you will be helped.
“This government is with you in your time of need. As I speak to you now, the modalities for this compensation programme are being finalized and very soon, we shall start implementation.”
President Buhari commended the theme for the Farmers’ Day, which is, Youths, Agents of Agricultural Development in the Niger Delta, noting that farming is the bedrock of the Nigerian economy.
“Our future economic prosperity hinges to a large extent on how we modernise and expand our agriculture,” he added.
Underscoring the place of youths in developing agriculture, President Buhari said: “Youths account for some 62% of our population.
This group, full of energy and drive, are the catalysts that will steer Nigeria in the direction that will make us realise our full potential.
The president urged youths to stay focused stressing active participation was a patriotic duty, whose success will create millions of jobs for many generations to come.
“We cannot afford to remain a mono-product economy, relying only on oil as our mainstay.
“We cannot continue feeding ourselves with imported food when God has blessed us with all the bountiful resources we need to feed ourselves,” he said.
Thanking farmers across the country for their resourcefulness, President Buhari disclosed that the country was on course towards food self-sufficiency, adding that the importation of rice, maize, and other grains had significantly reduced.
He also said that the federal government was working to revive the River Basin Authorities, in order to plan for lean times.