By Oye Chukwujekwu (Asaba)
Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa has said individuals should be encouraged to set up agro-based industries to encourage farmers.
According to the Governor, with the rate Nigerians have gone into farming, it is important for agro-based industries to be established to encourage the farmers to increase their yields through the industries.
The Governor made the call over the weekend during a Town Hall meeting with the people of Patani Local Government Area at Patani.
He lauded the way people of the state, in particular have embraced agriculture, observing that with different successes recorded by beneficiaries of his administration’s empowerment programmes in agriculture, it has become important for agro-based industries to be established.
“If we have small industries in relation to what we produce, it will help us to increase our production, preserve what we have produced and make it more acceptable to the consumers which will boost our socio-economic status as farmers,” the Governor said.
He emphasized, “as a government, we will encourage individuals to set up agro-based industries in areas we have economics of scale.”
The Governor who commended the commitment of farmers to make Delta State the food basket of the nation, urged the farmers to organise themselves into cooperative societies to enable them benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sponsored Anchor-borrowers programme.
He disclosed that Deltans did not benefit much from the programme because of low awareness, and called on the farmers to also, liaise with relevant agencies to ensure that they benefit from the programme and used the occasion to inform the people that the free child and maternal healthcare programme of his administration is on course.
“We have free maternal and healthcare programme for children under five, we have also launched Contributory Health Insurance Scheme that will capture all Deltans, the health of Deltans is of great concern to my administration and with the insurance scheme, there will be affordable and quality health care for our people,” the Governor said.
Answering questions as it concerns clock-in and clock-out biometric exercise for local government councils’ workers, the Governor said, it was not a punitive measure but to ensure that only those are paid salaries are true workers.
“It is not a punishment, it is not going to be forever but, if it is effective for three months, we will be able to identify true civil servants because, it will be difficult for you to work elsewhere and also, work in the civil service,” he said.
Earlier, Chairman of the local government council, Mrs Josephine Abeki had in an address, said, “your (Governor Okowa’s) SMART Agenda which is putting smiles on the faces of the good people of Delta State is clearly seen by all in the various appointments and empowerment of indigenes from the local government area in your (Governor Okowa’s) government.”