Bight Newspaper reports that the Bayelsa Elders Council has urged the state government to make massive investments in agricultural development and technical education to recalibrate the economy of the state towards self-sufficiency.

It says the only way to overcome the looming food crisis is for government to be directly involved in crop, fish, livestock and other areas of agricultural production as the subsisting peasant farming could no longer meet the food needs of the people.

This was the position of the Elders Council at its third quarter meeting of the year, which held at the Niger Delta Wetlands Centre, Ekeki, Yenagoa, on Thursday.

In his remarks, Chairman of Council, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Rtd), lamented the ever rising level of food prices in the state due to neglect of the agricultural sector and the attendant high dependence on external supply of foodstuffs.

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He expressed worry why youths who constitute the most productive demography in society are shying away from agriculture which has the potential to meet their financial and feeding needs.

Rear Admiral John Jonah, who is the immediate past Deputy Governor of the state, explained that the meeting was to consider the reports of four adhoc committees on Agro-allied Matters, Security, National Affairs as well as Science and Technology.

He underscored the need for government to thoroughly appraise the reports when finally submitted to it, and emphasized the urgency for the government and well-to-do people of Bayelsa to go into full-scale mechanized farming to boost food production.

Responding, Governor Douye Diri said his second-term administration would give the desired attention to agriculture to fight against the high prices of foodstuff as well as enable government to expand its revenue base.

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Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor promised to adopt a multi-dimensional approach in tackling the problems facing food and fish production in the state.

According to him, the establishment of the Ministry of Blue Economy in the state speaks volumes of his administration’s readiness to harness the state’s maritime resources for job and wealth creation.

The Governor expressed optimism that the state government would succeed in its ongoing effort in promoting vocational education and self reliance, particularly among the youths of the state.

To achieve this laudable goal, he said government had already built some vocational schools across the state with Yenagoa, the state capital, having two pilot technical schools.

The Bayelsa Chief Executive, who lamented that the average Bayelsan youth had an entitlement mentality without work, pointed out that for the state to measure up with its peers, such youths must change their negative disposition and embrace self reliance.

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He thanked the Bayelsa Elders Council for playing its advisory role in the governance of the state, adding that the doors of the prosperity administration were always open to the Council for advice and collaboration towards developing the new Bayelsa.

Highpoint of the meeting was the presentation of the adhoc committee reports.

Professor Francis Sikoki presented the report of the Agro-allied Committee; Science and Technology Committee by Engineer Charles Ambaiowei; Sub- national Affairs by Professor Tarila Tebepah, while that of Security was presented by His Royal Majesty King Bubaraye Dakolo.

 

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