Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima has disclosed that his administration spent nearly N10 billion to procure equipment, provide training and other services towards boosting agricultural development in the state.
The governor disclosed this at a farewell ceremony held at the weekend in Kuje, Abuja, for 50 citizens selected from the 27 local government areas of Borno, who were dispatched to India for a course in irrigation.
According to the governor, his government discovered that, in addition to misguided beliefs, Boko Haram insurgents have over the years been recruiting foot soldiers, and that the latter accept the pay offers as a result of joblessness and extreme poverty, a condition, he said, can be addressed through massive investment in agriculture.
“Besides those driven by spiritual motives, there is also the economically induced Boko Haram. This can be seen where some youths were paid as low as N5,000 to burn schools and spy on our security men. So, that goes to show that Boko Haram is not only propelled by evil spiritual motive but also by economic motives”, Governor Shettima said
He said he believes that Boko Haram can best be contained through a combination of military, socio-political and economic solutions, maintaining that none can be effective without the others.
The 50 Borno citizens, Shettima said, are to undergo three weeks train-the-trainers course on irrigation equipment installation, effective utilization and maintenance, after which they would train farmers across the state.
A world leader, Jain Irrigation of India, which is currently installing drip and centre pivot irrigation equipment in the state, is to conduct the training as part of a contract between the state and the company.
Shettima said in addition to Indian irrigation equipment, an American company from Nebraska state, is installing 50 units of centre pivot and sprinkler irrigation equipment along Maiduguri -Konduga farm areas as a pilot programme.
He revealed that 400 units of such equipment from US, India and China are expected for installation across private farms in the state, to increase cropping by revolutionizing agriculture and creating millions of jobs.
The governor explained that 50 unemployed graduates of agriculture had earlier undergone a different train-the-trainers course for three months in Thailand, while others were trained in Sebore Farms in Adamawa state.
He said the state is currently taking delivery of 400 containers of agricultural machinery and has taken delivery of 500 mobile rice mills and groundnut processing units.
In his remarks at the event, Ogeh, who is honourary adviser on agriculture to Shettima, called on the trainees to heed to the lessons they will learn in India, just as he eulogized the Borno governor for his steadfastness in developing knowledge based agriculture in Borno.