National Wire gathered that at least 115 rice Farmers in Bayelsa state are set to benefit from a food crops production sponsored programme by a non-governmental organization, Stakeholders alliance for corporate accountability (SACA) in partnership with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
Our source which monitored the programme in Yenagoa, the state capital reports that participants at the first batch of the programme expected to kick-off soon were drawn from the Yenagoa and parts of the Ogbia council areas of the state.
Speaking with Newsmen shortly after the event tagged, UNGP-P2R protect, Respect and Remedy project: meeting with SACA rice farmers”, the Executive Director of SACA, Mr Kingsley Ozegbe stated that the programme was a fallout of the NGO’s recent inauguration of the Environmental Management Committee (EMT), the Agricultural Management committee (AMC) and the Human rights due diligence committee (HRD) to educate and help communities achieve good development in the Niger Delta region.
He noted that while SACA has been engaging Biseni Clan to secure land for the cash crops ( oil palm cultivation). He reiterated that the NGO is partnering with Bayelsa State Ministry of Agriculture and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to train rice farmers in 15 communities to ensure food security.
National Wire reports that the Stakeholders alliance for corporate accountability (SACA) is funded by Misean Cara of the Republic of Ireland and St. Patrick Missionary Society.
The NGO’S Executive Director said: “The Environmental Management Committee will be enlightening and educating people on the hazards associated with oil spillages, the Human Rights Due Diligence Committee will be supporting individuals and project communities to secure respect of their human rights and access remedy where necessary, whereas the Agricutural Management committee will be refocusing people on agriculture to grow into commercial production and reduce attention on oil and gas. We’re starting with 115 rice farmers from two local government areas of the state. They’re Yenagoa and parts of the Ogbia local government areas.
“Today in this programme we’ve 25 Rice farmers participating as torch bearers, while a cumulative 90 vulnerable farmers will be attached to the torch bearers to strengthen their productive capacity, potential to access Agricultural credit facilities and reduce their vulnerability to abuse and violence”.
National Wire further gathered that in support of SACA’s efforts, the representative of Bayelsa state Commissioner for Agriculture and natural resources, Chief David Alagoa, who is the Director of Agricutural services of the Ministry, Dr. Okoya Ebasi, the Deputy manager of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yenagoa branch, Mr Sheke Sunday, and the manager of Bank of Agriculture in Bayelsa State, Mr Ikegwu Kenneth as well as the state’s manager of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation, Mr Suowari Tonbara called on all beneficiaries of the project to take the scheme seriously.
They reiterated that it was high time Bayelsans took Agriculture as a business and not just as a means of eking out a living as peasant farmers, saying that the government can only give agricultural loans to those who practice Agriculture as a business.
In same vein, in an overview of the project, Programme Manager of SACA, Mr Augustine Anyio, has tasked beneficiaries to position themselves to effectively utilize the opportunities created by the Agricutural sector of economy to earn maximum benefit.
He noted that SACA will not be giving cash to farmers but improved rice seedlings and training on modern agronomy practices, just as he explained that each torch bearer will be fully supported to cultivate 50 by 100 plots of land in each of their location for the project