Published On: Thu, Dec 22nd, 2016

Amnesty Office moves to acquire 100,000 hectares for Agric, partners with states…begins phased graduation of 500 Ex-agitators in advanced farming.

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amnesty-office-logoPress Statement.

22nd December, 2016.

 

The Presidential Amnesty Programme has commenced steps to acquire 100,000 hectares of land in the nine oil producing states for advanced agriculture. The acquisition is a major step in the Programmme’s Integration Phase under which all beneficiaries of the Programme will be trained and empowered as part of its Strategic Exit Programme (STEP)

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (Rtd) also   expressed the willingness of his Office to partner with states and other Stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to boost agriculture, ensure food security as well as gainfully engage the Amnesty beneficiaries in productive and sustainable work.

Speaking against the back drop of Tuesday’s graduation of the first batch of ninety seven delegates at the Bio-Resources Development Centre (BIODEC) Odi, Bayelsa State, he said his Office has approached state governments in the Region to assist with the acquisition of the 100,000 hectares of land.

The Special Adviser said Tuesday’s graduation of the 97 Ex-Agitators in advanced farming technique under a Memorandum Of Understanding with the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) is the first of a series of training by NABDA. He revealed that another batch of 103 trainees will graduate in January 2017 adding that the scheme is to turn out a total of 500 agriculture graduates by April 2017.

General Boroh said the acquisition of the lands are urgent given the need to speedily reintegrate all Amnesty beneficiaries, tackle food insecurity and mass unemployment  in the  Region. He said apart from the Amnesty beneficiaries, youths from impacted communities in the Niger Delta may also benefit from the advanced agriculture training of the Amnesty Office and its planned cultivation of farms in partnership with identified private companies and international agencies.  He said talks with two of such partners are at an advanced stage and that MOU will be soon be signed with them.

The Special Adviser to the President said the graduating trainees were exemplary in their conduct and urged them to carry the same spirit into their post-training endeavour as they put their newly acquired skills into practice.  General Boroh also urged the beneficiaries to uphold the good gesture of the President for providing them with sustainable source of livelihood through the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

The course participants were earlier made to go through a screening exercise, aimed at profiling the delegates into their desired areas of interest before the commencement of the Training.

The high point of the graduation ceremony was the symbolic empowerment exercise where the graduates were taken to a Model Fish Farm meant to be replicated for them during the Empowerment Phase of the Programme, in line with the ‘Green Alternative’ Programme of the government which aims at diversifying the economy from the current dependence on oil and gas to agriculture.

The 500 Amnesty beneficiaries are being trained in batches of 100, and taken through one month intensive training at the Bio-resources Development Centre (BIODEC), Odi, Bayelsa State.

Seventy nine beneficiaries graduated in Fresh Water Fish Production, five in Macro Propagation of Elite Plants (Banana, Plantain, Pineapple), Nine in Snail Farming, three in Grass-cutter Farming and one in Household Production.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,  Chief Audu Ogbeh had revealed that the  Federal Government’s ‘Green Alternative Promotion Policy’ has five major thrusts:

  •  Achievement of self-sufficiency and sustainable food security.
  • Reduction in import dependence and economic losses.
  • Stimulation of agro-exports for enhanced foreign exchange earnings.
  • Enhancement of wealth and job creation especially the provision of employment opportunities for the teeming population in the country, and
  • Achievement of economic diversification to make our economy less oil dependent.”

General Boroh said the Presidential Amnesty Programme is committed to the attainment  of the five objectives.

 

Piriye Kiyaramo,

Media and Communication Department,

Presidential Amnesty Office.

 

 

 

 

 

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