07 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, has expressed the need for the country to diversify its economy into agriculture.
NAOC’s General Manager, Mr. Marco Rotondi, made this known in his speech during the 21st Farmers’ Day celebration of the firm’s Green River Project, GRP, in Igbogene, Bayelsa State.
Speaking on the theme, “GRP Actively Leading the Fortune of the Niger Delta”, Rotondi said the Green River Project was focused on making farming attractive and accessible to Nigerians, as well as encouraging youths and women to embrace modern and mechanised agriculture.
Similarly, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of NAOC, Mr. Massimo Insulla, stated that for the past 30 years, the initiative had been a source of employment and improvement of the standard of living for its host communities.
Insulla explained that the Green River Project had served as a veritable tool for sustainable development and food sufficiency.
“The farmers’ day celebration since its inception has offered the platform to individual farmers, farmers’ co-operative society and Agro-allied organisations not only to showcase their products, produce and services, but also to interact with other agriculture stakeholders,” he said.
On that note, the Bayelsa State Government expressed its willingness to collaborate with the company to enhance agricultural development and food production in the state.
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Mr. John Jonah, said the collaboration was imperative following the numerous agricultural programmes initiated by Agip towards boosting food production in its host states.
Jonah also commended NAOC for embarking on agricultural value-chain in a bid to boost food security in its host states.
“Bayelsa State government is prepared to partner NAOC to boost the agricultural potentials of the state.
“Already, the state has embarked on laudable agricultural initiatives, such as cassava farm at Oloibiri, commercial fish farm and rice farm at Peremabiri among others,” the deputy Governor said.
For his part, the Vice Chancellor of Federal University Otuoke, Prof. Seth Accra-Jaja, stated that NAOC’s Green River Project initiative if sustained was capable of leading the country’s agricultural development.
Accra-Jaja said that the university under his leadership was also embarking on agricultural programmes, such as incentive share lending, growth enhancement scheme, agric resilience scheme and field alternative scheme, among others.