Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has said that the state agricultural sector, through its Agricultural Revolution Programme (ARP), would generate about 15 per cent of the state internally generated income in 2018.
“Kogi is working hard to increase its internally generated revenue from its exploits in agriculture to generate at least 15% of its income from the sector by the close of 2018,” Bello said.
Bello, who disclosed this in s state-wide broadcast to mark the New Year, in Okene, said that the state had made tremendous progress in agriculture as alternative income generation and employment for the teeming population.
He said the first harvest from the state experimental rice farm at Omi Dam was a huge success, against the backdrop that it was an initial effort.
“The first batch of Confluence Rice hit the market in December, 2017.
“This is a source of income we hope to nurture from domestic sales, and if there is a surplus, distribution to other parts of the country and even overseas export will be done,” he said.
The governor said that the rice renaissance in the state was traceable to the ARP launched early in 2017 and on which the government had been working.
Bello said cashew, cassava, sugar cane and sesame seeds were other crops the government was planning massive production.
“We have made advanced progress with possible investors to cultivate these on an industrial scale in 2018.
“By the end of year, we should be able to attribute at least 15 per cent of our income to earnings from the agricultural sector,” he said.
He added that the New Direction Blueprint of the government was programmed to start earning income for the state from direct investments in solid minerals.
“We have not neglected the potentials of this rich source of internally generated revenue.
“Our state-owned solid minerals production company has been undergoing revitalisation to give it a corporate structure, which is more responsive to the current realities.”
The governor stated that the company should be ready to handle transactions from early this year.
He noted that the government also created a programme for social welfare to touch many citizens at the grassroots level.
“While this may not have reached every person and every household, I am aware that it has reached every ward.
This direct distribution of foodstuff, particularly rice, has put food on tables, which would have otherwise been empty, especially during festive seasons.” he said.
The stressed that efforts would be intensified to grow the Food Direct Programme in 2018 and expand the scope to include other essential commodities like medicines.
Bello was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria to have said that the government owed the citizens and residents a sacred duty to provide good governance.
“It is, therefore, our unfailing duty, in 2018, to do so by keeping pace with your yearnings and aspirations for Kogi state.
“There is hope in every new beginning, and every New Year’s Day is a new beginning, so, today, I celebrate hope with you.
“Hope for today, hope for the year and hope for the future beyond this year. Kogi is rising.”