The Federal Government has called on all states to embrace the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme and take advantage of the opportunity to access N1.5bn Agric loan.

A meeting of the Joint Planning Board and National Council on Development Planning was held on Wednesday in Asaba. At the opening ceremony, The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr Ernest Umakhihe spoke. He said the scheme was aimed at diversifying the economies of the states, focusing on agriculture.

He said: “the country’s gross domestic product report has constantly indicated that the oil and gas sector dominates other sectors in terms of contribution to the National GDP”.

“The Federal Government has done a lot regarding the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme for states, which has led to Nigeria’s self- sufficiency in rice and other crops”.

Furthermore, he said, “Nigeria has come to the point of ‘no going back’ in her economic transformation policy. I implore you to support and replicate the economic policies of the Federal Government in your respective states.”

Umakhihe commended Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, for the introduction of empowerment programmes into the state.

These are Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs programmes, Production and Processing Support Programme and Public-Private Community Partnership for Large Scale Commercial Farming and Agro-processing.