The Chairman of the Governing Board of Cross River Basins Authority, Mr. Eseme Eyiboh, has disclosed the Federal Government plans to revive and put to use the 12 River Basin Development Authorities across Nigeria.

This is to ensure proper management of surface and underground water resources as part of deliberate efforts to grow the agricultural sector and boost value chain additions.

Eseme, during an interview in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Tuesday, said this would trigger growth in the agriculture sector that would help in diversifying the economy.

He said the rice farms in Akwa Ibom State were being revived while similar projects in Cross River State would also be revitalised to make farmers enjoy the benefits of their investments, adding that the various policies of the Federal Government were aimed at turning around the sector.

“The Federal Government is determined to grow the sector and has come up with innovative policies not only to ensure food sufficiency but to boast value chain addition.”

He, however, expressed regret that states were not keying into the programmes and policies of the Federal Government to boost food production in the country.

“But what we have seen is that most governments at sub-national level are not buying into it; if they should, there wouldn’t be anybody going around to look for white collar jobs,” he said.

Eyiboh, who is the dean, Committee of Chairmen of River Basins Development Authorities in Nigeria, lamented that River Basins Development Authorities have been unable to optimise their potentials in the past.

According to him, the dearth of ideas and innovations had been largely responsible for the inability of Nigeria River Basins Development Authorities to deliver on their mandates, leading to food insufficiency in the past.

“Before now, there was a decline in the value chain where farmers were no longer having the benefit of their labour,” he said, regretting that the middlemen, who buy from them, were the one having the field day.

He said the Cross River Basins Authorities address the situation by providing the necessary “nursery that would propel an agricultural revolution in the country and make agricultural practice a pride to all farmers.”

He added that the authorities were driving the vision of smart climate agriculture, which encourages the development of agriculture based on climatic condition and also collaborating with ECOWAS commission to drive the necessary innovations to boost the sector.

Eyiboh also advised farmers to form cooperatives to enable them to benefit from the various programmes of the Federal Government, including the various borrower schemes being made available by the present administration.

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