By Emma Amaize
WARRI —THE Niger Delta Vanguard for Good Governance, NGVGG, said the training of thousands of ex-militants in mechanized agriculture by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, was a good initiative to expand the economy, urging Niger Deltans to key into it, as it will create wealth and provide job opportunities.
The group in a statement by the national coordinator, Mr. Ebi Brisibe, commended the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, PAP, Brig-Gen Paul Boroh (retd.) for the programme, saying:
“This laudable initiative is programmed to encourage beneficiaries to take to agriculture, especially the cassava value chain ,which serves as a veritable platform to get youths in the region to look beyond oil, provide jobs, be self-dependent, productive and create revenue/wealth for themselves.”
“We applaud the focus on cassava, the wonder crop and mainstay of the Nigerian people. Niger Delta contributes about 65 per cent of over 46 million tons of cassava produced in the country, making Nigeria the largest producer of the product in the world.
“We are calling on the PAP boss to go to the interior and agro- based communities for the cassava farming. The prompt empowerment after the successful training is the most crucial and important aspect of the program,” it said.
The group recommended “timely supply and procurement of cassava starch processing machines to enable farmers adopt modern techniques for peeling, grating, boiling, fermenting, drying, frying, and milling cassava for productivity and efficiency.”
It also called “for the provision of hybrid cassava varieties (stems) and fertilizer for high yield and productivity,” adding, “some of the hybrid cassava varieties that can do well in the Niger Delta region include TME 419 (high – starch, industrial-preferred variety), TMS 35072 (Average starch and good branching variety) and TMS 306 (Great yield and great for garri production) and Akers (seven months variety, also good for garri production).”
“We are calling on Niger Deltans, particularly the Ijaw people to key into the initiative of the Amnesty boss and create wealth, generate revenue and provide job opportunities through sustainable agriculture,” NGVGG said.