The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources has the mandate of producing sufficient food for the teeming population of the State through direct assistance to farmers in the areas of agricultural mechanization, provision of improved and high yielding planting materials and other agricultural inputs, loans in cash and kind, fisheries inputs etc. Other set-vices provided include, livestock, extension, veterinary and produce inspection set-vices.
2. POLICY THRUST
The State policy on Agriculture is directed towards achieving agricultural growth and development, thereby, improving the socio-economic growth. and development of Deltans, especially in the rural areas. It aims at providing food in excess cess for local consumption and export, food security, industrial raw materials for ag•o-industries, employment for our teeming youths as well as alleviating poverty in the State.
STRUCTURE OF THE MINISTRY
The Ministry has nine departments comprising of six operational departments and three mandatory departments, eight parastatals, three farm settlements, ten communal farms, field offices in all the Local Government ,Areas and an Agricultural Research Station at Obior.
A. PERSONNEL MATTERS
The Ministry currently has a staff strength of 866 personnel, comprising 646 intermediate and senior staff within the rank of SGL 07- 17 and 220 junior staff on SGL 06 and below. During the period under review, 222 officers were promoted while another set of 28 officers underwent training in various courses/workshops. A total of 85 professional officers made-up of Veterinary Doctors, Livestock, Produce, Fisheries, Agriculture and Agricultural Research Officers were recruited and posted to the Ministry.
To ensure that the environment is suitable for work, offices were renovated while the following items were purchased and distributed:
(i) Office furniture and equipments.
(ii) Uniform for drivers.
(iii) Installation of CCTV facilities in the offices of the 'Hon. Commissioner and Permanent Secretary.
B. TREE-CROPS UNIT (TCU)
The overall agricultural policy thrust of Tree Crop Unit is the production of elite tree crop seedlings for distribution to farmers throughout the State and beyond.
These tree crop seedlings are oil palm, rubber and of recent cocoa, cashew and coconut. The importance of these elite seedlings is to increase food production, provide raw materials for agro-allied industries, improve the farmers income through the tree crop sub-sector of Nigerian economy. The following are the achievements of TCU.
(i) Raising of oil palm
Raising of oil palm seedlings is being carried out at the Ejeme-unor nursery site in Aniocha South LGA. A total of 20,000 oil palm seedlings was raised and distributed (sold) to interested farmers across the State at subsidized rate. Over, 15,600 hectares of improved oil palm plantation have been established by 2788 small oil palm farmers in the State.
The State government has devised a rewarding programme of action to develop the rubber industry sector in Delta State. These are in the area of replanting, rehabilitation and budwood nursery development. The Ministry has assisted 375 farmers to replant 2,265ha and rehabilitate 2,724ha for 305 farmers in the last three years.
The State Government procured 30,000 budded ' rubber stumps from Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria (RRIN) for rubber farmers.
(iii) Cocoa development
Delta State belong to the league of 14 cocoa producing State of the Federation. Though, the State, a minor cocoa producing State, cocoa is heavily cultivated in Ndokwa East and West, Patani, Ethiope East and West, Ukwuani and Ughelli North to mention few. The Ministry through the TCU and Cocoa Development Committee produce between 50,000 to 100,000 seedlings every year and distribute to interested farmers for free.
C. CROP PRODUCTION
In order to provide high yielding disease resistant planting materials to fanners in the State, the Ministry multiplied the following for distribution; 126,664 bundles of cassava cuttings, 11,100 plantain suckers and 45,000 seed yams. The Seed/seedlings Multiplication Centres are located at the Communal Farm Ogwashi-Ulcu, ADP, lbusa and Tree Crop Units at Adonte, Umutu, Abraka and Ej eme-Unor.
(i) Rice Production Programme
The State Government, in anticipation of the banning of importation of rice has decided to re-awaken interest in rice farming. Toward this end, a total of 625ha of rice will be cultivated this year, employing 625 youths and women to carry out the farming at a budgeted cost of one hundred million naira (N100, 000,000.00). Each local goverment is to be involved by nominating 25 persons to cultivate 25ha each.
(ii) Cassava Development Initiative Programme
This programme is being executed by the State Government in collaboration with the Federal Government. The sum of N2 billion is budgeted as the State share for the funding of the programme. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Delta State and the Federal Government has already been prepared.
The programme is expected to achieve the following:
i. Cultivation of a total of 89,457ha of cassava farm for out growers. This represent 3/5'1 of all cassava hectrage in the State.
ii. Establishment of demonstration trials in 50 locations in a bid to increase production.
iii. Construction of infrastructures and provision of equipment for the processing of high quality cassava flour for at least 10 small and medium scale enterprises.
iv, Empowerment of farmer's co-operative societies and private processors to establish fourteen (14) large dried chips processing facilities, two demonstration ethanol production plants, each with a capacity of 6 million litres ethanol fuel per year.
v. Establishnient of a cassava starch processing plant.
D. FARM INPUTS DELIVERY
Seven thousand, two hundred and ninety (7,290) metric tonnes of assorted fertilizers were procured and sold to farmers at subsidy through the Delta Agricultural Procurement Agency (NAPA). The Agency also sold 68,113 metric tonnes of maize seeds, 1,780kg/33,356 litres of agrochemical and 4,178 pieces of agro equipments to farmers to increase food production in the State. The Agency procured 200 units of fertilizer dunnages and refurbished one project Pickup Van. The State Government released the sum of ten million naira (NI0,000,000.00) to boost the trading capacity of the Agency.
E. PRODUCE INSPECTION SERVICES
The Ministry renders Produce Inspection services which include the inspection, enforcement of quality standard agricultural. of produce as well as revenue generation from inspected produce. A total of 1, 028,672.55 metric tonnes of agricultural produce were inspected and graded.
Within the past five (5) years, the total sum -of forty-one million three hundred and sixty-two thousand, nine hundred and sixteen naira fifty kobo (N41,362,916.50) was generated as revenue for the State Government from Produce Inspection fees. The projects executed included, the construction of two perimeter block wall fence at Produce Inspection offices in Warri and Agbor, purchase of a project vehicle and purchase of Uniforms for field staff at a total cost of twelve million, two hundred and thirty-six thousand, seven hundred and sixty naira (N12,236,760.00) only.
F. FISHERIES DEVELOPMENT
Through this programme, the Ministry supplies improved quality of fingerlings and fish feeds to fish farmers to enhance productivity. Fishing inputs/equipments are also distributed to farmers at 50% subsidy. In year 2011, the sum of five million, four hundred thousand naira (N5,400,000.00) was expended to purchase one thousand six hundred (1600) bags of fish feeds and distributed to five hundred and eighteen (518) fish farmers across the State at subsidy.
G. AVIARA FISH FARM ESTATE
The hitherto moribund Aviara Fish Farm Complex which was inherited from the defunct Bendel State is currently undergoing reactivation at a project cost of ninety-nine million., nine hundred and fifty thousand naira (N99,950,000.00). This nucleus fish farm which is a fish production and processing complex has the capacity of job creation for 3,000 persons and thousands of multiplier effects, when completed.
H. LIVESTOCK DEVELOPMENT
The cardinal objective of the Livestock Development Programme is to increase the quality and quantity of animal protein intake in the State. Under this programme, improved breeds of pullets and broilers are purchased by the Ministry, raised to between four and six weeks and distributed to livestock farmers. So far, 291,000 day-old chicks and point-of-lay birds have been purchased, raised and distributed to farmers. Also distributed are 638 pig wearers, 450 in-pigs for piggery development. Others are Snails, Cane rats and 38- goat-kids. The poultry and Piggery houses at Ibusa, Ogwashi-uku and Agbarho were also renovated. That of Agbarho has been rented out to out-growers for pig multiplication. It currently has over 250 pigs and multiplication activities are on top gear.
1. VETERINARY SERVICES
The policy of Veterinary services is the prevention and control of animal diseases some of which are zoonotic. It is aimed at improving animal production, enhanced pet care and public health. There are (13) veterinary functional clinics spread out across the State at Asaba, Kwale, Agbor, Ughel.li, Sapele, Oghara, Warri, Effurun, Oleh, Ogwashi-Uku, Issele-Um etc.
It is the policy of Government to ensure that Veterinary clinic exists in each local government headquarters. Recently, the sum of nine hundred and eighty nine thousand naira (N989,000.00) was released for the effective running of these clinics.
J. VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH
Routine meat inspection goes on daily in all slaughter houses/slabs across the State. In the same vein, animal movement in. and out of the State is controlled through our Veterinary control post strategically located at Asaba and Agbor Veterinary control posts. These activities generate the sum of twelve million naira (N12,000,000.00) annually into the IGR, though the primary focus is on Public Health.
K. VETERINARY INVESTIGATION AND DIAGNOSTIC CENTRE (VIDC), AGBARHO
The Veterinary Investigation and Diagnostic Centre at Agbarho which has been going through phased development is at its final stage. The complex was renovated last year at the sum of fourteen million, five hundred thousand naira (N14,500,000.00) while this year, new equipment and reagents have been purchase. at the cost of one million, nine hundred and eighty-five thousand naira (N1, 985,000.00) to augment for those already available. It is hoped that with the budgetary provision of 19.7 million naira in the 2012 Budget, more equipment and routine materials shall be provided for the effective take off and sustained running of the centre.
L. TRACTOR HIRE SERVICES
The Ministry renders tractor hire services to fanners in the State through its Tractor Hire Agency (THA) with 9 tractor hire centres located in Asaba, Oleh, 0ghara, Patani, Agbor, Agbarho, Kwale, Owanta and Abraka. This Agency has assisted farmers in the State in mechanizing their farming activities at highly subsidized charges. Over five million naira (N5,000,000.00) has been realized as revenue by this agency within the past five years.
In a bid to reposition the Agency, the sum of two hundred and ten million, three hundred and thirty-two thousand naira (N210,332,000.00) has been appropriated for the procurement of modern tractors and equipment in the 2012 budget.
L. AGRO-SERVICE CENTRES DEVELOPMENT
The Ministry operates Agro-Service Centres to provide under one roof essential farm services for farmers. There are currently four centres located at Abraka, Owanta, Koko and Oleh. The Abraka centre was established in year 2009, while the Oleh centre is currently undergoing renovation at the cost of N9.8 million. Meanwhile, the sum of seventy-nine million, six hundred and seventy-nine thousand, two hundred and nineteen naira (N79,679,219,00) is appropriated for the renovation of Agro-service centres at Koko, Oleh and Owanta.
M. YOUNG FARMERS CLUB (YFC)
The programme is aimed at encouraging the formation of Young Farmers Clubs in secondary schools in the State, to stimulate interest and promote farming through the provision of farm inputs and other services free of charge; organising trainings, sponsorship of quiz competitions among others.
In year 2012, forty-five (45) secondary schools have been selected for the supply of seeds, sprayers, tarpaulin ponds, fingerlings and fish feeds at a cost of N9 million. His Excellency, the Governor just approved the release of 4.5 million naira for this exercise.
O. AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICES
One hundred and fifty (150) frontline Extension Officers were trained and retrained in modern agricultural technologies. Two hundred (200) motorcycles were purchased and distributed to Extension Agents to enhance extension delivery in the State. Extension delivery as represented by Delta ADP has established/built three cassava processing centres out of the eight earmarked. The centres are Ebuh, Emuhu and Ekuku Agbor. These processing centres are RTEP-assisted.
P. FARMERS SUPPORT PROGRAMME
This programme is aimed at assisting peasant farmers to expand their farms, thereby, increasing their incomes through provision of soft loans and farms inputs without collateral. Under this programme, a total of .3,921 farmers across the State were assisted with the sum of N600 million to improve their agricultural production. Out of the 3,921 farmers empowered, 2,221 were crop farriers, 500 were poultry fanners, 200 were pig farmers, while 1000 were fish farmers.
Q. YOUTH EMPOWEREMENT THROUGH AGRICULTURE (YETA) PROGRAMME
This programme is aimed at encouraging the youths to take up agriculture as a profession. Through it, the youths are encouraged to practice agriculture in cluster groups by which they are empowered through trainings, provision of inputs and fund to make agriculture more attractive. The programme has created jobs for 950 youths who are currently into poultry, fishing, piggery and snailery as agric businesses, these youths and their farm enterprises are located in 25 YETA cluster sites established by Government in the 25.Local Government Areas of the State.
R. DELTA STATE TASK FORCE ON COMMUNAL FARMING (TFCF)
The Communal farming programme was established with the main. objective of providing gainful employment to the teeming rural youths, reduce rural-urban migration, alleviate poverty and improve their living standard.
There are currently ten (10) communal farms in the State with a total of 398 participants. Below is the list showing the spread of participants.
i. Ogwashi-Uku in. Aniosha South LGA 83
ii. Deghele in Sapele LGA 80
iii. Irri-Emede in Isoko South LGA 80
iv. Owhelogbo in Isoko North LGA 34
v. Ovade-Oghara in Ethiope West. LGA 16
vi. Tainigbe in Burutu LGA 28
vii. Abigborodo in Warri North LGA 20
viii. Kokori in Ethiope East LGA 45
ix. Bomadi in Bomadi LGA 10
x. Ute-Ogbeje in Ika North East LGA 12
Ovade-Oghara being the most recent, was established by the present administration.. It has twenty-five (25) concrete fish ponds stocked with 25,000 fingerlings at 1000 fingerlings per pond. The communal fish' farm at Owheologbo has 18 concrete fish ponds with twelve (12) fully stocked and these were harvested two months ago. Fresh stocking will commence soon. Tamigbe and Abigborodo have 5-subsoil fish ponds each.
S. FINANCIAL DONOR-SUPPORTED PROJECTS AND STATE COUNTERPART FUNDING
In line with the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Federal Government, several agricultural initiatives have been developed and are being implemented by the Federal Government across the Nation. This collaborative projects are in several cases co-sponsored by international financial donor agencies such as UNICEF, UNDP, World IFAD, USAID, UNIDO, etc. other local donors are NDDC, B01. and CBN. One of the major conditions for attracting this programme to the State, is by prompt payment of counterpart fund.
The State Government has successfully attracted a number of agricultural developmental projects into the State for farmers' beneficiaries by her prompt payment of counterpart funds. Notable among these are;
i. Fadama III Developi-nent Project.
ii. Root and Tuber Expansion Project (RTEP).
iii. Community Based Natural Resources Management Project (CBNRMP)
iv. Animal Traction and Hand Tools Technology Programme.
T. FADAMA III DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
The Delta State Fadarna III Project is an international donor assisted project that finances all income enhancing activities/enterprises within the agricultural food production chain and small scale community owned infrastructure of which the State Government is substantially committed to as is shown in its counterpart funds payment compliance level of 71.5%.
To date, 10,31.4 persons made-up of 5,516 male and 4,798 female in 61.6 Fadama Users Groups (FUGs) in 75 Fadama. Community Associations across 17 Local Government Areas have benefitted to the tune of three hundred million, five hundred and ninety four thousand, four hundred and twenty-one naira sixty-eight kobo (N300,594,421.68). Most of these enterprises have started yielding returns on their investments as they have run their full circles.
The project is now concentrating on the provision of rural infrastructure which will benefit a substantial proportion of the community. Five of such projects were recently commissioned. They are:
(i) A 1.5m by 250m. long pedestrian bridge across the Otiri swamp in Oton Gana, SapeleLGA which has given the residents access to over 200 hectares of arable land which before now has remained uncultivated..
(ii) Renovation of 20 open market stalls in Ovrode, Isoko North LGA.
(iii) 24 open market stalls, 5 lock up stores in Aragba-0rogun, Ughelli North LG.A.
(iv) 10 tons cold storage facility in Umusadege, Ndokwa West LGA
(v) 180,000 gallons capacity underground water storage tank along with sanity facilities in Onicha.-Olona, Aniocha North LGA.
Five of such similar projects had been completed and will be commissioned by the end of the month while another nineteen (19) are undergoing screening for implementation.
U. 1FAD/FGN/NDDC- C0MMUNITY BASED NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME (CBNRMP)
The Community Based Natural Resources Management Programme (CBNRMP) is an IFAD/NDDC funded programme aimed at alleviating rural poverty especially amongst women, youths and vulnerable groups in the Nine (9) Niger Delta States of which Delta State is participating. The goal of the programme is to Improve the standard of living and quality of life for at least 400,000 rural poorest of the poor households in the Niger Delta Region. In Delta State, approximately 44,444 poor rural households are targeted. The programme commenced effectively in the year 2007 with three Local Government Areas of Isoko North, Ughelli South, Warri North participating fully. The State Government has paid up its counterpart fund up to date.
Some of the achievements recorded in the State by CBNRMP since inception in 2007 are:
(a) On Sustainable Agriculture
i. Provision of cassava processing equipments with its accessories to Aniokwe- Umueze 1busa , Oshimili North LGA.
ii. Establishment 3.5 ha Cassava farm in 0ghenerurie community, Isoko North LGA with an improved cassava cutting TME 419. The essence is to increase cassava production and farmers income. Also, 350 bundles of TME cassava variety were distributed to farmers in the same community with a view to replacing local Cassava varieties.
iii. Two (2) earthen fish ponds were constructed and stocked with 2,000 fingerlings in Esaba community, Ughelli South LGA. In the same community, the fishing group benefitted from training on compounding of fish feed and fingerlings production. The group also benefitted from wash bore, water pumps and fishing Nets/Gears.
iv. Two (2) concrete fish ponds at Otutuama and Abigborodo Communities in Ughelli South and Warri North respectively were constructed to boost Aquacultural activities. The projects are 25% and 20% completed.
v. Facilitated the procurement and distribution of Eight, (8) fishing canoes, 8 Hp outboard Engines and fishing Nets/Gears to two (2) fishing groups in Tebu and one (1) Ogbinbiri Communities, Warri North L.G.A.
vi. Also in collaboration with NDDC, the programme distributed fishing nets, fishing gears, coolers etc worth N500,000 to fish farmers in Abigborodo, Tebu and Ogbinbiri Communities. The aim is to create employment and increase fish catch and farmer's income.
vii. The programme also facilitated the establishment of Oil processing mill in Edhomoko Community, Isoko North LGA. The project is 70% completed.
viii. Two Cassava processing Mills at Oghenerurie and Oyaro communities in Isoko North have been established. The projects are 50% and 20% completed.
(b) Institutional Strengthening/capacity building of community groups;
Sustainable Livelihood improvement.
i. Conducted life skill training for 81 women from the 27 participating communities on; baking and making of fruit drinks, beading and soap/cream making. Out of the 81 participants, 22 of them were given starter packs to start off their own business.
ii. Thirty six(36) youths from 1soko North, Ughelli South and Warri North LGAs were engaged in skill acquisition trainings on Auto-mechanic, welding and fabrication, generator and, water pump reapirs, hair dressing, fashion designing/Tailoring and computer training. Six (6) of the successful graduate at Isoko North LGA were provided with start up equipment as follows; standard sewing machine with electric motor (3nos), Hair Dryer(3nos), washing basins (3nos), and hangers (3nos)
iii. Trained 30 farmers on integrated Agriculture at Songhai Centre for Excellence, Bonu Tai, Rivers State 20 of the farmers are from Uvwie Multi-purpose fish farm.
iv. A local mid wife at Edhomoko community, Isoko North LGA was_ supported with complete ante natal bed, hand gloves, and disinfectants, the maternity building was also renovated.
v. Seed support in the form of establishment of provision store and cash amount of N50,000 were given to a physically challenged lady in Oghenerurie community in Isoko North LGA. Sanitation promotion group at Esaba community in Ughelli North, Edhomoko in Isoko North and Odu- Ugba camp in Oshimili North LGAs were formed and strengthened with sanitation promotion tools such as; Wheel barrows, shovels, spade, cutlasses, files. Rakes and Head pans.
vii. In collaboration with Helt Hospital, CBNRNW carried out enlightenment campaign on malaria eradication and distribution of 200 insecticides treated bed nets in five (5) communities; Aniokwe Umueze, Abala Unor, Adjekerieda, Ekresan and Agbafan communities,
viii. Facilitated the formation and registration of 35 community groups made up of 357 members, from 7 communities; Aniokwe, Adjekerieda, Abal unor, Afor Ogbedigbo, Ogiedi, Edhomoko and Oyaro.
(c) Small Scale Community Infrastructure:
i. CBNRMP is constructing a solar powered borehole in Oyaro community of Isoko North LGA. The Project is about 45% completed.
ii. Establishment three classroom blocks facilitated the supply of 45 pupils chair/desk to Aniokwe- Umueze Ibusa, in Oshimili North LGA. The school is in use.
V. N1 BILLION COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE CREDIT SCHEME (CACS):
The Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) was established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to promote Commercial Agriculture enterprises in Nigeria. Under the scheme, Delta State has accessed N1 billion for on-lending to farmers cooperative societies in the State at a maximum interest rate of 9%.
On Monday 16th April, 2012, His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan the Governor of Delta State, flagged-off the commencement of the scheme in the State. So far, a total of 926 farmers beneficiary cooperative societies have been selected along the key agricultural commodities (Crops, livestock, fishery and agro-processing) to benefit at a total value of N973,800,000.00. A total cost of N21,654,000.00 has been paid for insurance of the scheme. The disbursement of loans to the beneficiary cooperative societies is ongoing.
W. NIGERIA AGRICULTURAL INSURANCE SCHEME (NAIS)
Under this scheme, Government encourages farmers to insure their farms against natural hazards through the payment of insurance premium subsidy. This year (2012), there is a proposal to pay the insurance premium subsidies for one thousand and fifteen farmers (101.5) and one thousand and twenty farmers (1020) uninsured in year 2010 and year 2011 respectively, at a total cost of five million one hundred and sixty-four thousand, three hundred naira (N5,164,300.00), while the sum of twenty-one million six hundred and fifty-four thousand naira (N21,654,000.00) is set aside for loan beneficiaries of the on-going CACS.
X. PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) PROJECTS
In line with the present posture of this administration to diversify the economy of the State, the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources is encouraging and wooing investors for PPP. To this effect, several proposals for PPP have been received by the Ministry and are undergoing consideration. Those concluded with signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) are already into operation. An example is:
(i) OFN-Delta Farms Nig. Ltd
The OFN-Delta Farms Nig. Ltd is a N3 Billion Commercial Poultry Production and Processing Complex established at Ogwashi-Uku in partnership with the Delta State Government and Obasanjo farms. This project has created employment for over 246 persons with the catchment area having the highest number of employees. In addition, over 75 egg distributors have been registered with the farm.
(ii) Feed Africa Project.
His Excellency, the Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan has initiated a project with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The project which is under the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is designed by the Human Security Centre. Delta State has been chosen as a pilot State for this programme. It is basically an agricultural programme aimed at wealth creation through agricultural production/ value chain. The programme is to be executed in the twenty-five (25) Local Government Areas. Each Local Government will execute approved agricultural programme where they have a comparative advantage. The programme was inaugurated in Abeokuta, Ogun State during the former Presidents birthday and will be formally inaugurated in Delta State soon. We are pleased to host this pilot project in the continent of Africa.
In line with the National Agricultural Policy, the major focus of the Agricultural Sector is not into direct food production, but agricultural service delivery to improve farmers' productivity. Therefore, our activities are not solely directed towards revenue generation. However, Agriculture contributes to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State. The sector generates over one hundred million naira (N100,000,000.00) annually from services such as meat inspection, animal inspection, veterinary clinical charges, produce inspection, sales of fertilizers and tree seedlings, tractor hire service and landing Jetty fees. Within the first quarter of this year, a total revenue of twenty million, one hundred and thirteen thousand, two hundred and seventy-five naira (N20,113,275.00) has been generated. Below is the breakdown:
|1.||Sales of Birds/Pigs for Easter||N1,200,000.00|
|2.||Produce Inspection Fees||N3,624,620.00|
|3.||Tractor Hire Services||N256,000.00|
|4.||Veterinary Services (meat and
animal inspection and treatment
|5.||Sales of chemicals/ fertilizer by DAPA||N8,285,980.00|
|6.||Warri landing Jetty Fees||N2,280,000.00|
In spite of the progress made so far by the Ministry, the challenges on Agriculture Development and indeed Food Security are enormous. Apart from-the constraint caused by inadequate and late funding of agricultural activities, environmental challenges caused by climate change with resultant effects of global warming and unpredicted seasonal heavy rains, have greatly affected agricultural production negatively. In addition to these constraints are those caused by the activities of multi-national oil companies in the Niger-Delta Region.
Nevertheless, the Agricultural sector is still the largest employer of labour in the State, with about 75% of Deltans depending on it for their livelihoods. It contributes approximately 13% of the State Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after oil which is 79%. Therefore, if agriculture is given a greater priority and appropriate technological transfer, it will definitely stand as one of the major tools for transforming the State's economy and achieving our dream of a 'Delta beyond Oil.'