. Says efforts boost food security

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has commissioned the Cassava Plant at Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, saying the processing plant will address the challenges of value addition of the crop in the value chain sub-sector.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony yesterday, Nanono, noted that the plant will also promote the adoption and use of 10% high-quality cassava flour, HQCF, in the bread and confectionery business, so as to reduce wheat importation and conserve foreign exchange earnings to meet other needs.
“Rivers State is among the Top 5 Cassava producing States. It is therefore of necessity and thoughtful on the part of Government that cares for its farmers to embark on a project of this nature that will enhance value addition and guarantee employment to the people,” said Nanono.
The minister stressed that the factory, when fully in peration, will be fed with output from 3,000 farmers within the farming communities as well as other farmers far and wide from neighboring communities.
He also said the processing plant will also cultivate thousands of hectares of Cassava to ensure uninterrupted supplies of raw materials.
“In all these arrangements, massive jobs will be created and over 20,000 farm families will earn income for enhanced livelihood and improved standard of living.
“This milestone achievement of the Government of Rivers State will promote export substitution, job creation, economic diversification, as well as food and nutrition security.
“This is in tandem with the agricultural policy put in place by the present Federal Government poised to build agribusiness ecosystem that will address the challenges in the agricultural sector in partnership with all stakeholders,” he informed.
He emphasised that the outcome of the continued use of this processing plant will lead to increased incomes, livelihood, ensure healthy cassava food processing activities and serve as a new page to achieve the desired result in the 10% cassava flour inclusion policy as well as food and nutrition security.
The Minister commended greatly, the activities of Rivers State Government under the leadership of the Governor, His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, who has constructed the Cassava Plant as a landmark contribution toward ensuring food security and value addition in the country.
In his remarks, Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesome Wike stated that the primary focus of his administration is to diversify the economy of the State from oil and gas to Agricultural Development by providing financial support and inputs to the Smallholder farmers in the State.
Gov. Wike assured the people that State Government would provide financial grants, seeds and inputs to the Cassava Smallholder farmers which would increase production, create more jobs and boost revenue.
Also, in his Goodwill Message, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said that the CBN is committed to provide financially assist  grants that would fast track growth in the Agricultural sector, which is in line with President Mohammad Buhari ‘s led administration.
During his welcome address, the Commissioner of  Agriculture, Rivers State, Dr. Fred Kpakoi said that the State Government has invested massively in the Agricultural Development of the state, adding that the Cassava Plant would create job for the teeming Youths, ensure food security and increase the internally Generated Revenue in Cassava value chain.
Other speakers included, Managing Director, Rivers State Cassava Processing Plant, Ruben Giesen, who said the company will provide jobs for over 3,000 Smallholder Farmers the cassava value chain and also provide quality Cassava.
He appreciated the Governor for his policies in the Agricultural sector which is geared towards empowering people of the state.
The processing plant which is expected to off-take cassava tubers for not less than 3000 smallholder farmers in the state with an installed capacity to process 45,000 metric tons of cassava tuber and produce 12,500 metric tons of high quality cassava flour, is considered another giant milestone in ensuring agricultural opportunities have been delivered to the people.

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