…urges govt to tackle youth unemployment, criminality through agriculture
By Gabriel Ewepu
AMASSOMA-AN agribusiness firm, SWEER Global Farms, has expressed readiness to use modern farming technology and techniques to galvanize food production in Bayelsa State.
Making this known to Vanguard was the Supervisor, SWEER Global Farms, Abareowei Donald Benaembele, while speaking on the plan of the company for choosing Bayelsa State for the multi-million investment the company has commenced in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government area of Bayelsa State.
According to Benaembele, the target of the company is to revolutionize agriculture and agribusiness in the State, because of the natural endowment and peace that exists.
He said: “SWEER GLOBAL Farms is passionate about boosting food security in Bayelsa State right now, and that made us to come over here in Bayelsa to invest massively in the State’s agricultural sector.
“We came to Bayelsa State to invest because we felt with agriculture be driven with passion it will galvanize the State’s food production and boost its economy and change the status of being a civil service State.
“And we did this investment to attract more players to come into the sector to invest their money here in order to have high profit margins and assist government to employ the teeming population of young people.
“We are not just after profit-making because we are using our farms as avenues to create employment for young people in the State whereby we purposefully engage them in order to keep them away from all forms of criminality.
“We also want to get them exposed to agribusiness and take over from the aging farmers in the future using SWEER Global Farms as platforms and that is our strategic plan.
“We decided to choose Bayelsa State as our first port of call because there is peace in the State because without peace we would not have come here to establish our farms.
“We also decided to choose Bayelsa State for our investment in agriculture because we are in the vanguard of championing a food production revolution and to let the world know that Bayelsa is also a food basket in Nigeria.”
He further explained that, “Another major attraction to SWEER Global Farms is the fertile soil which enhances organic food production, which many people are going after because they want to eat and live healthy, and also to avoid daunting health challenges people are coming down with like cancer, kidney, heart and blood related illnesses caused by chemical laden food they consume.
However, he said there has not been any financial intervention from both the federal and state governments to boost their operations, as funding and finances are from the company.
“We have not received any financial assistance from the government at both federal and state levels but have spent our resources to put into these farms. We know for sure that this will be a challenge but never mind we are moving on.
“However, the government can still render assistance to investors and farmers in this State. I mean the federal and state governments because there are people who really want to embark on agribusiness but lack the finance and funds to actualize their dreams.
Speaking on the number of Bayelsans the company has employed within the shirt period he said, “On the issue of our employment at the moment, we have over 20 employees who are currently working with us in SWEER Global Farms, and they are committed to our company’s mission, vision and objectives as they carry out their duties.
Meanwhile, Farmer Manager, SWEER Global Farms, Amassoma, Azeebi Ayabeke, expressed hope and envisaged high yield and tonnage from the cassava and plantain farms as it gets gradually to time of harvest while speaking on initial challenges they experienced.
“We are envisaging huge tonnes of cassava soon as we gradually approach the harvest time. I would not like to be specific on the tonnage for now because we are still working on the cassavas including the plantains.
“We have put in a lot as a company despite the initial challenges we have to grapple with and here we are today as you can see. We also used professional advice we received and harnessed to take the farm to the level we are right now”, Ayabeke said.
On the issue of flood he said, “As for flood there is no threat to our farm because even the 2012 flood that struck Bayelsa did not affect this land and we do not have any fear for that.
However, he called on government to assist farmers who are out to add value to the State’s economy.
“We have spent huge sums of money on the farm and we make this appeal for government intervention also because large scale farming as this is capital intensive, and some time we have constraints to do some other things but if we have access to funds there will be minimal challenges”, he stated.