Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the Federal Government is ready to partner with any state government that is serious and hard working, so as to provide the needed opportunity for Nigeria to be great.
Speaking at the commissioning of the Taraba Green House Project in Jalingo, during his state visit to the state, Vice President Osinbajo said he had no doubt that, in few years, the country would not just be producing the food needed in the country, but adding value and exporting them to other countries.
“I am also pleased that you are passing on the technology for our young people here. Because it is the intention of our government to ensure that in the next few years, we are self sufficient in food, we are self sufficient in agro-processing so many agro-processing product,” Prof. Osinbajo said.
Meanwhile, the Taraba State Governor, Mr. Darius Dickson Ishaku, said the Green House Project was aimed at providing a year round production of commercial production of high quality vegetables, tackle youth unemployment and improve internal revenue generation of the state.
He said the project, which produced tomatoes, lettuce, pepper, cabbage and cucumber that meet international standards, had employed 500 Graduates of Agriculture and would go a long way to militate against food insecurity and enhance farmers’ income in the state.
The projects commissioned by the Vice President are the Jalingo Water Extension Project, the Jalingo-Kona Road and the Green House Project, which produces vegetables that meet international standards.
The commissioning began with the Greater Jalingo Water Scheme, which is the scaling up the on-going water supply intervention in the state, which was supported by the African Development Bank.
According to Governor Ishaku, the project became necessary due to the upsurge in population as a result of the relocation of people into Jalingo due to insurgency.
He said the Jalingo Water Expansion was aimed at increasing the water supply to the state capital by about 26 million litres of water per day and also aimed at meeting the water demand of the city up to 2035.
This, the Governor said, was to create an enabling environment that would attract investors and for the socio-economic development of the state, as well as fulfil the vision of supplying basic water to the people.
The Vice President also commissioned a 6.5 kilo metres of a Federal Government road, the Jalingo-Kona Roa, which was fully funded by the state government, of which the Federal Government is expected to refund.
However, the project that attracted so much attention is the Green House Project, which is at present producing and supplying tomatoes, lettuce, pepper, cabbage and cucumber of international standards to the people of the state and most cities in the country.
Governor Ishaku urged the Federal Government to support the Green House Project for the economic benefit of not just the state, but the country as a whole.
“This beautiful green House that you saw today has not been fully completed. Because when we got the loan and then started the work, the Naira collapsed. We are therefore also begging Sir, that we will come cap in hand so that we can finally finish this Green House and make it large enough to satisfy us with vegetable in Nigeria”.
Governor Ishaku also put another request on the table for the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government is owing us over 30 billion Naira and I have been everyday been dreaming dreams that this 30 billions can be paid. And then I cris-cross this state with roads, but up to now this dream has remained a dream. But with you here today, and with the confidence I have in you, Sir, I know that by the time you go back and before the end of this month, I should be able to smile,” Governor Ishaku said.
The Vice President, who seemed impressed by the Green House Project, commended the efforts of the government, while pledging to support them in any way possible.
“I think that with what we have seen here in Taraba, what we’ve seen by the young people working here, a lot we have seen with the project and the [potential can only tell us one thing, that we haven’t even started yet, we even haven’t begun yet. When the world sees us in the next few years, no one will believe that it is the same Nigeria.
I am particularly impressed with what His Excellency, the Governor is doing here, looking at the various opportunities in agriculture and trying to provide the facilities. Even building the roads, linking one agricultural hot belt to another, moving from one to the other. I can assure you, your Excellency, that the Federal Government will support you in every way,” Prof. Osinbajo said.
The Green House Project, when fully executed, would cover 15 hectares of land, with the first phase of 2 hectares producing pepper, 2 hectares producing tomatoes, 3 hectares producing cucumber and 2 hectares producing lettuce.
The final phase of 6 hectares is expected to produce other varieties of vegetables.
Governor Ishaku also requested that the Federal Government should give the state the silos, because according to him, Taraba State has the potential to produce enough food to feed the nation and also export it.
The state government said the silos it was requesting from the Federal Government had not been used since its construction was completed.
It said when given to the Taraba State Government, it would go a long way in facilitating the Agricultural Produce Management Scheme of the Agricultural produce Management Agency.