The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh on Friday, April 7, 2017 joined the Governor of Borno State – Gov. Kashim Shettima to receive a high level delegation of the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization – FAO delegation led by the Director-General, Prof. José Graziano da Silva.
The delegation is in Nigeria to visit communities in North Eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin to discuss current challenges and present the organization’s support plans and response strategy for local efforts to increase the resilience of people in the rural areas, whose agriculture-based livelihoods have been hit hard by the recurrent Boko Haram crises in the region.
At a high level stakeholders’ meeting held at the Government House in Maiduguri, the Hon. Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh described Borno as a very promising agricultural state in spite of the many set-backs the state has suffered due to the Boko Haram insurgency. “Despite the devastating degree of harm done by Boko Haram to Borno state, you have remained one of the most prepared states to face the future through Agriculture. It is very important for us to note that ignoring rural development will hurt us all and pose a huge threat to our collective interest and well-being. We must rally support to improve the lives and well-being of our rural communities.”
Director-General of the FAO – Prof. José Graziano da Silva in his presentation observed the need to recognise and acknowledge that there had been a long neglect of rural development in the region, subsequently worsened by the challenge of the Boko Haram insurgency. He however was optimistic that with the abundance of potentials in the region, a common solution could be achieved: “We strongly believe that there are great potentials in this region and we are bringing in our support for rural development and food security”.
The Borno State Governor – Kashim Shettima described the FAO as one of the most practical and helpful organizations of the United Nations that has been consistently committed to the good of the state adding: “I want to thank the FAO DG who despite several EU travel advisory against traveling to Borno, has continued to visit us in search of solutions to our problems”.
The Hon. Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh while in Borno, undertook a field visit to Jain Greenhouse, a seedlings production and processing facility at the State Farm Centre in Gamboru Ngala, Maiduguri. The Greenhouse is 5000 square meters in size with a processing capacity of 8million seedlings per day and houses tomato, cucumber and okra seedlings. It is fully automated; climate controlled with a metrological station installed for weather and full irrigation facilities.
The Hon. Minister was also at the Borno Agricultural Mechanization Farm Central Workshop at Gamboru Ngala, Maiduguri where he was taken on tour of the workshop housing over 2000 tractors, planters, harvesters and other mechanized agricultural implements. He also made a brief stop at the state solar panel manufacturing facility under construction at Damaturu Road, Maiduguri.
The Hon. Minister also had private meetings with the FAO Director-General – Prof. Graziano; and Ireland Ambassador to Nigeria – Amb. Sean Hoy, who was part of the entourage.