By Emma Amaize
A former staff of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, now Chief Executive Officer of Flourish-Bentam Agro-Fish Nigeria Limited, Mr. Julius Egbedi, has told the Deputy Governor of the state, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, why he resigned from the state-owned oil commission.
Speaking when Otuaro, accompanied by Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon Julius Egbedi and others, paid an inspection visit to the farm at Okpuku Aragba, Ekpan , Uvwie local government area, Egbedi, who made his first attempt in fish farming, 12 years ago, said he discovered after securing a job in DESOPADEC that his pay packet could not sustain him and his family.
“I have to think of some other positive way out to augment my salary until I met a dear friend who introduced me into fish farming business. But my first attempt was catastrophic. I could not make any profit. As a man with vision and courage, I had to continue with all vigor until we are now where we are today, making it very well to the glory of God.
“As of today, I have about 50,000 tons of various species of fishes with each specie hatching about 10,000 tons each and presently, I have downsized my staff strength as a result of COVID 19 pandemic,” he said
Mutu said he thought it wise to approach government to come to his rescue, hence he took the bold initiative by reaching out it to come to his assistance financially for more output and job opportunities for the youths.
He said he was aware that government of Delta State has been supporting farmers and hope government will also come to his aid in this regard, adding: “I really need your support so that we can take this farm to an enviable height where we can provide more jobs opportunities for the youths, and as well encourage them to go into farming too. There are lots of prospects in agriculture. But our major challenge is funding. We need the government to support us.”
He also informed the deputy governor that since they started farming in the area, no youth has harassed or intimidated them from carrying out their activities, rather they have been so cordial, encouraging and friendly with all the farmers in that cluster, just as he appealed to the government to assist them in clearing the blocked water channel from the main river, which has been the source of water supply to the fish farms in the area.
Otuaro, visibly impressed with what he saw, entreated unemployed young people in the state not to remain idle, but go into agriculture and other productive ventures, assuring that the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa-led government would support them.
He said: “Government will no more watch the youths remain idle instead of being encouraged in productive ventures to fend for themselves and families.”
Otuaro, who fielded questions from journalists, asserted: “On what we have seen here today, we are very excited. Like the Commissioner of Agriculture has said, yes, this initiative merits our support. And supporting this well-intended, hardworking gentleman as we have seen is going to be encouraging and that will stand as an example to many others.”
“We cannot afford to fold our hands akimbo as a people or maybe working in the street of our cities, our nations looking for job opportunities that are not just available, we must just try the best we can to fend for ourselves and members of our family by looking inward, doing things that are productive that can really add value to our family, and our society as well.
“This is very heart warming. We will ensure as government that we articulate comprehensively the needs just as he has told us today here. So that this could be an encouragement to many of our young people, “he added