An agriculturist and proprietor of Vintage Farm in Rivers State, Sir Mike Elechi, has said that the Niger Delta region of Nigeria might face severe challenges of economic hardship in future, if the agricultural sector continues to be neglected.
Elechi, who made the assertions in a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt recently, noted that almost all the young men, that are supposed to engage their energies in agriculture were into illegal bunkering which destroys the environment meant for agricultural development in the area.
According to him, the region is not only faced with challenges of man power, but also the challenges of environment for farming.
Elechi, who is a retired permanent secretary expressed worries on the spate of illegal bunkering activities in the region and called on various organisations including private sector and governments to embark on serious sensitisation campaigns on the important of agriculture and the danger associated with the illegal bunkering activities to the future economy of the region.
He also noted the present situation of Olobiri oil well in Bayelsa State, saying that time would come when some of the oil wells would dry up after destroying the environment meant for farming.
Elechi, a retired Permanent Secretary in the Rivers State Ministry of Works also expressed the need for state governments to give priority to agricultural development more than any other sector, saying that agriculture is the bedrock of any vibrant economy in the society.
He said food production is the major factor of economic growth, and that when there is famine in the land, all other economic sectors would be grounded.