The Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme(PAP), Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (Rtd) has said that the ongoing Nigeria’s agricultural revolution was a precursor to the anticipated industrialisation of the country.
Boroh, also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, said this in an interview with our reporter on Thursday in Abuja.
He added that “the burden of fixing Nigeria’s economy had fallen squarely on all of us.
”Though our economy is blessed with series of natural resources, yet we suffer in the midst of plenty.”
Boroh, however, pointed out that agriculture would attract Foreign Direct Investment, reduce the high level of unemployment, and reduce the over-reliance on crude oil.
According to the coordinator, currently, Nigeria has over 80 per cent of arable land, but unfortunately, less than 40 per cent of that land is cultivated, hence, the need to reform the agriculture sector.
“Since its inception in 2009, PAP has succeeded in training a number of Niger Delta youths in diverse skills, which had improved their lives and impacted on their communities.”
Boroh pointed out that with the new challenges faced by the country and in line with the present administration’s focus on agriculture, the Amnesty Office was poised to explore agriculture to meaningfully engage ex-agitators in the region.
The Presidential aide noted that agriculture had been regarded in recent times as the most viable route with which Nigeria would successfully get out of the current economic challenge.
“Prior to the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri in 1956, agriculture was the mainstay of the economy, being the highest earner of Foreign Exchange for the country, making Nigeria to be largely self-sufficient in food production then,” he said.
According to him, in 2017 the Amnesty office had trained more than 508 beneficiaries across the nine oil-producing states to establish their own crop, poultry and fish farms.
He added that only recently the office just graduated 100 beneficiaries, trained in poultry and fishery, at Songhai Farms in Delta state.
He, however, urged all beneficiaries of the agriculture training to put into practice what they had learnt during their one month intensive course in poultry and fishery to enhance food production and sustainability.
Boroh noted that the increasing attention of the private investors in agriculture was a testimony to the fact that there were a lot of opportunities in the sector.
He, however, disclosed that in the next phase of any agriculture training programme, the Amnesty office would ensure that provision was made for beneficiaries to establish and manage their areas of specialisation.
Recall that the coordinator had earlier assured beneficiaries undergoing training in various centres across the country of their prompt empowerment packages at the end the programmes.