The Bayelsa chapter of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has urged youths in the state to shun crime and embrace agriculture so as to boost the economy.
Mr Ezekiel Ogbianko, state RIFAN Chairman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa on Tuesday that crimes like stealing, pipeline vandalism and kidnapping were destructive and harmful to any growing economy.
He described farming as the oldest and the most lucrative business that was not perishable, urging the youth to go into it.
“We cannot fold our hands and be begging the government for jobs that are not forthcoming; there is more money in agriculture than the oil and gas.
“RIFAN in Bayelsa is ready to partner with individuals or groups that would want to venture into rice farming.
“We will continue to do what we can do to ensure that there is enough food for the common man in the society.
“We have commenced clearing of lands for the new rice planting season and many farmlands have been acquired, cutting across the eight local government areas of Bayelsa.
“The state’s topography is not a hindrance to rice cultivation because what we are into is pure mechanised farming; therefore, the challenges of terrain can be surmounted,” he said.
NAN reports that Bayelsa has a riverine and estuarine setting, as a larger percentage of the state comprises settlements which can only be accessed via water transportation.
Out of the eight local government areas of the state, only Yenagoa, Ogbia, Sagbama and Kolokumo/Opokuma local government areas can be accessed by road. (NAN)