DIAMOND IN THE DUST: BENUE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

Posted: July 18, 2011 in BENUE, life and human interest

Today, Mrs. Chivir ashwe smiled home because she had a fulfilled
market day, as a rich woman stopped her and bought off her basket of
tomatoes at N1, 500.00 even before she could get to Asukunya Market.
Unfortunately, the story is not the same with her neighbor, Mrs. Mvaa
Tine, who insisted on reaching the market, only for the traders with
big lorries from the east to buy her big basket at N700.00 after
waiting for the market to come to a close before purchasing thereby
creating fear and panic in the poor farmers who had no option than to
sell at whatever price or risk taking their produce home to perish.
This is a typical scene in every Benue agricultural market which is
usually filed with agricultural produce as a result of lack
agricultural based industries to utilize her generous agricultural
products.produce
Popularly known as “food Basket of the Nation” for her rich
agricultural endowment, created in 1976, Benue State is actually not
only endowed with agricultural but also natural resources.
A drive around the state 23 local Government will leave any visitor
undoubted about her claim to the nation’s food Basket. With
agriculture as her main stay, Benue state is a giant when food and raw
material production is mentioned but unfortunately, the industry
(Agriculture) is scarcely exploited. From the yams in Ukum, the
Tomatoes in Tarka to the palm oil in Ogbadibo, millions of Naira lay
in waste.
With the recent drive by states at economic independence based on
industrialization, Benue state stands vintage with her abundant
resources. Unfortunately, little or no attention is been given this
very important employer of labour and economy booster –
ndustrialization.
The closest the state had at industrialization was the Aper Aku
regime of 1979 – 1983 which saw the establishment of various
industries from Taraku oil mill, Benue Breweries, Fruitcon, Oturkpo
burnt bricks, Agro rice mills, Benue Cement, Benro Packaging
industries, to mention but a few. Subsequent governments, civil and
military have either paid lip service or seen them go down the drain.
Not only has the government failed to harness Benue’s natural
endowment, humble attempts by individuals at establishing agricultural
based industries have failed owing to lack of assistance by government
in the provision of subsidies and general infrastructure to enable
production.
When the George Akume regime came aboard in 1999 it attempted with
lack luster, the establishment and revitalization of a few industries
like the plastic production, fertilizer blending, Lobi rice mill,
Taraku Mills and Wannune tomatoes puree factories. These industries
never lived enough to fulfill their purpose as a result of improper
management, government policy and sheer negligence.
Typical of such projects is the Tarka tomatoes puree plant. A project
initiated by the Akume administration due to the abundance of tomatoes
in the Tarka – Gboko area, according to a source close to the former
governor, the project was 75% complete before the end of that
administration but unfortunately, this project has been jettisoned, as
a result farmers in this area no longer get value for their production
as they now sell at give away price to get rid of these Tomatoes which
are perishable.
The insensitivity of government to the yearnings of the people is a
major factor against proper industrialization. Factories sited in
localities are a product of convenience as is the case with the most
recent citing of the Anyiin Rice Mill which is situated in a locality
where yams and ground nut are the major crops produced in this are
thus rather undeserving as the people would have gone better with a
yam processing plant.
Investigation by atiterkula has proven that incoherence by
government has also largely impeded industrial development as
subsequent governments would rather start a new project than complete
or continue an already initiated project by the previous government.
This is a fate suffered by all industries established in the state;
lack of continuity in governance has created a greater lack in the
development of the state – poverty and Job creation.
While government continues to play politics and lip service to real
development, Benue indigenes will continue to suffer lack amidst
plenty with poverty, unemployment and hunger tormenting these
hard-working masses

Comments
  1. […] DIAMOND IN THE DUST: BENUE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR. […]

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