Ogoni Liberation Initiative advocates agricultural schemes in all the LGAs
Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in Rivers State has advocated for agricultural schemes in all the local government areas of the state.
Douglas Fabeke, the chief executive officer of OLI reiterated the importance of diversifying from the crude oil economy to agriculture, an approach he disclosed will help to promote human and environmental development.
Fabeke made this known during a one-day economic empowerment summit organised by the group for Rivers people in Port Harcourt.
The community leader maintained that economic diversification is fundamental to economic development which will help a country to move to a more diversified production and trade structure.
Fabeke explained that lack of economic diversification is always associated with unemployment, insecurity, drop in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and over-reliance on foreign aid through borrowing.
Besides, he said that to achieve robust economic diversification and growth Nigeria needs to pay attention to policies which that will enhance major sectors such as education, agriculture, oil and gas, environment, entrepreneurship, ICT, security, health, and housing.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of many nations of the world. Before 1960, when Nigeria had its independence, agriculture was the mainstay of its economy and formed a greater proportion of its foreign exchange. The discovery of crude oil in the 1960s then shifted the government’s attention away from agriculture to oil and gas.
“The discovery of crude oil with its attendant high revenue which came in billions of dollars made the government neglect the agriculture sector and left it unattended. This led to the shortage of food items as virtually 60 percent of Nigeria’s basic needs (food) are imported at a high exchange rate and to the detriment of Nigerians.
“Government policies no longer support agriculture as everybody’s attention has shifted to the Niger Delta region for oil and gas exploration. “We commend the effort of the Rivers State Government in building the cassava plant in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, as that will create more job opportunities for our teeming unemployed youths.
“We, however, advocate that agricultural schemes be introduced in all the local government areas of the state so as to increase production and food availability. The neglected school to the land scheme should be revived. Agricultural schemes and practice should be introduced to all the secondary and tertiary institutions of learning so as to impact our students with the necessary skills required for any kind of agricultural business,” Fabeke said.