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Mr Joe Utomi, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Delta, has said that the dwindling fortunes in the global oil market has forced many oil-producing nations to turn to agriculture as alternative source of revenue.

The commissioner said this on Friday in a keynote address he presented at the Nigeria Agroprenures Forum (NAF) Agribusiness Summit 2019 in Asaba.

He said that keying into agriculture had become imperative to sustain human existence and the socio-economic development of any nation.

According to him, agriculture is key to human existence and the socio-economic development of any nation.
He said, “It is a well known fact that the dwindling fortune of oil revenue globally has forced many nations to turn to agriculture as alternative and the situation is not different in Delta.”
The commissioner further said that the state government had made great impact in the lives of many youths and women through agriculture.

He said that government’s agricultural programmes and projects included oil palm development, rice production value chain, cassava production and processing, livestock production and agricultural extension.
He said: “Agricultural sector has made tremendous progress and is key in achieving the “SMART Agenda” of Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration.

“Most of the agricultural programmes and projects executed in the state have always been on value chain addition to to our farmers, food security and socio-economic well being of the citizens in general.
“Through agricultural projects and programmes, several youths and women have been encouraged, trained and empowered to become great farmers and Agro-entrepreneurs in the state.”

Utomi advised participants at the summit to take the lectures seriously to enable them to leverage on available opportunities in agriculture and agribusinesses to better their lot.
He thanked the organisers of the event for coming to Delta to enhance the capacity of the farmers and state government’s relationship with them.

In an address of welcome, the NAF President, Mr Ayodele Farinde, said that the body, which is a professional network of agribusiness practitioners, shared agribusiness opportunities and also learnt good practices and management to enable members to earn good income.

According to him, NAF has had group meetings and training workshops in Lagos  State and Ogun and encourages the creation and emergence of many cooperatives, partnership and collaborations in agribusinesses.

“As a result, more than 200 agribusiness ventures and expertise have been birthed across Nigeria.
“Delta government has set the record for leading the sponsorship of first summit by NAF today.

Farinde described the theme of the one-day summit, “Harnessing Value Chain Development for Agriculture and Farmers Income Development,” as apt “because economic prosperity of a nation lies in the level of value addition it has deployed.”

He said that the summit was structured to help stakeholders in three key areas, such as optimisation of agricultural value chain, strengthening food security and creating more job opportunities.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that lectures were delivered on rice value chain, key to success in poultry processing, agro-economy development and strategy, among others.