A former Governor of Ogun State and Senator representing Ogun East in the National Assembly, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has reassured Nigerians of the determination of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to revamp the agricultural sector and promote viable initiatives to enhance food sufficiency in the country.
Daniel, who spoke at the flag-off of a training programme for rice farmers held on Monday at the POLA Facility, Asoludero Court, Sagamu, said the Tinubu government was committed to making Nigeria one of the leading rice-producing countries in the world.
The event, which was sponsored by Senator Daniel in collaboration with the National Productivity Centre, also featured the distribution of free rice seedlings and fertilizers to no fewer than 100 participants.
In his address at the programme with the theme: “Promotion of rice value chain for self-sufficiency and import substitution in Remo Communities, Ogun State,” Senator Daniel acknowledged Nigeria’s great potential in rice cultivation and production.
The lawmaker, who recalled how agriculture used to be the mainstay of the nation’s economy, harped on the need for the citizens to re-ignite interest in farming not only to meet local consumption but also to earn foreign exchange for the country.
He explained that the training programme for rice farmers was part of his agenda to deepen dividends of democracy and bring governance closer to his constituents.
Daniel enjoined Nigerians to continue to support the present administration in its efforts to tackle the myriad of challenges facing the country and provide succour to the citizenry.
He said, “God has been so good to us in Nigeria. We have a lot of potentials. Before the advent of oil, agriculture was the mainstay of our economy. But somehow, we neglected agriculture which have greater prospects with the land we have in abundance.
“I want to plead with us that it is time to return to farming. This programme is meant to empower our people without fear or favour. We expect you to plant these seedlings and become successful rice farmers. Let us begin to grow rice and make Nigeria become one of the rice-producing countries in the world.”
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Daniel, who highlighted some of his activities since assumption at the Senate, pledged adequate representation that would address the strategic needs of people of the senatorial district.
Also speaking, the Director-General of National Productivity Centre, Dr Nasir Raji-Mustapha, described rice production as the “new oil” for the nation’s economy.
Raji-Mustapha, who was represented by Engr. (Mrs.) Linda Bitrus, lauded Senator Daniel for complementing the efforts of the Federal Government in improving productivity of the citizens.
While noting that his agency had been saddled with the responsibility of improving productivity in all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, the NPC boss charged the participants at the training to reciprocate the gesture of the organisers.
He said, “It is so nice to know that the Senator is working in line with Mr President’s agenda of improving food sufficiency and food availability in Nigeria and that is the main reason for this training: to empower the people of Ogun State, especially Ogun East Senatorial District, to be the hub of rice production in Nigeria.
“We hope that you will not only feed Ogun State and Nigeria but also the West Africa sub-region and other parts of the world. It is often said that with tiny drops of water, the ocean is filled. I want to believe that this is not just a tiny drop but a rainfall.”
“At the National Productivity Centre, we believe in value addition. We believe in improving your performance, so National Productivity Centre actually wants to see people of Ogun East Senatorial District produce abundant rice that others would come and emulate.”