H.E Gov. Buni has said that with more effort and investment, agriculture could transform the economy of Yobe State and significantly improve the people’s living conditions.
The governor spoke in the afternoon today at the opening of a four-day Yobe Agricultural Retreat, the first ever such event where experts, farmers, extension and crop specialists and other stakeholders were brought together to chart a more effective and more sustainable way of improving agriculture in the state.
“As in many states across the country, a majority of our people here in Yobe State engage in farming as a primary source of livelihood. Agriculture is the linchpin of our economy. But at a time when our country continues to look for ways to diversify the economy, create more jobs and lift people out of poverty, it does not seem as if we are making the best of agriculture as the best alternative for wealth creation. Despite abundance of land and the energy of our people, agriculture here in Yobe State still remains largely subsistent.
“I believe that with a little more effort, we can do better. I believe agriculture holds the key to boundless opportunities that our people can tap into to significantly improve their living conditions. This is why we thought it is appropriate to bring together the cream of experts and professionals that we have here today to deliberate and chart the way forward for agriculture in the state under the theme ‘Enhancing Agricultural Activities for Food Security and Economic Growth'”, he said.
The governor noted that while a majority of Yobe people are farmers, certain hamstrings stand in the way of real agricultural development in the state. These, he said, include low productivity of the traditional agricultural system, weak research and extension service, limited access to improved seeds, low level of agricultural mechanisation, and poor access to credit facilities.
H.E Gov. Buni expressed hope that the experts and farmers who gather for the Retreat would help the state government with practical ideas that could be implemented to make agriculture a cash cow for the people of the state.
“We are hoping for this retreat to help shine the light for us for how we could best strengthen agricultural planning, how we could more effectively utilize research findings, and what new techniques to adopt to enhance agricultural production, processing and marketing in the state”, he said.
The governor also revealed that at the end of the Retreat, an Expert Working Committee, to be headed by Professor Abba Gambo, the dean of the Faculty of Agriculture of Yobe State University, would be set up to thoroughly digest all the presentations and recommendations to be made to hep his administration formulate implementation strategies for how to move agriculture forward.
The governors of Kebbi and Jigawa States, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Muhammad Badaru Abubakar respectively, former governor of Adamawa State Admiral Murtala Nyako (Rtd) and the Country Director of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), who spoke at the event, commended Governor Buni for convening the agricultural retreat, observing that with the agricultural potentials in the state and the determination of the state government, Yobe would soon become a force to reckon with in agriculture in the country.