The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said the level of poverty in the villages was unacceptable and will be addressed.
The minister stated this yesterday during a courtesy visit to the management of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust titles in Abuja.
“The element which creates pains for us is the plight of our people in the villages. The level of poverty in the villages is simply unacceptable-we all came from there,” he lamented.
Ogbeh said the local government system has collapsed, that is why they hardly carryout any meaningful development.
The minister observed that the state-local government joint account system has made a mess of the whole issue, adding that “nothing is going on down there.”
He said the ministry is coming up with a programme called Labour Intensive Family Enterprise (LIFE) where processing equipment for groundnuts, soya beans, palm kernel, rice, Shea butter and others will be set up in the villages to actively and massively engage the rural dwellers in order to create wealth, reduce rural-urban drift and reduce poverty.
“We are taking life back to villages. We want the villages to be part of the all-inclusive growth agenda,” Ogbeh said.
While articulating some of the programmes the ministry wants to resuscitate in the country agricultural sector, the minister said plans are under way to return the three universities of agriculture, which hitherto have been in the ministry of education back to ministry of agriculture.
He said the law establishing the institutions does not even empower the National University Commission to supervise them.
Other areas the minister said will be developed include the livestock development programme, where over 200 centres will be developed across the country to actualize the school feeding programme, where a pine of milk will be given to 30 million school children daily.