The Joshua Robert Orgue Enterprises, an Agricultural Firm, on Friday said all was set to make Bayelsa self-sufficient in fish production.
Chief Joshua Orgue, Executive Director of the firm, said this while conducting newsmen round his farm ‘God is my light, Sea never dry farms’ in Ogbolomabiri (Nembe city), in Nembe, Bayelsa.
The farm, which is sitting on a 125,000 hectares of land, has plantations consisting of various cash crops and 10 deep fish ponds having over 125,000 fingerlings of different species.
Orugue said that the agro-firm had set up factory in the farm to engage in fish hatchery and feed production.
“If I have not brought you people, Journalists, to this farm today, I believe you will not have believed that we have a farm, as big as this in Nembe. This land, where the farm is located, is called Imbetuma Island, it’s owned by the Owe family (my family). We have five farms. Farm one, two, three, four and five. In the fish ponds, we have catfish, governor’s fish, tilapia, and others. We intend to make Bayelsa self-sufficient in fish production and reduce import of fish from neighbouring states to this great state”.
According to him, already somebody is on his way from Port Harcourt to begin the modalities for operation of the hatchery.
“Our next target is to start a hatchery here in Nembe. We also have plans to begin the production of fish feeds here.
“So that we don’t depend on the ones coming from outside Bayelsa state. The fish feeds are now so expensive, we spend a lot on it,” he said.
Orgue said between 1998-2016, he had also in the farm about 614 cows, piggery and poultry.
He said about 412 cows died within two days due to poisoning of their drinking water which made him to divert attention to fish production.
“We have never had any financial support from the Bayelsa State Government. Not even a dime has the government’s Ministry of Agriculture or other government owned agricultural related agency given me. I have severally applied for government’s support, in terms of Agricultural loans, but the government has not given me anything even as we speak. I’ve over 40 staff working in this farm,” he said.
Orgue appealed to the Bayelsa Government, Federal Government and other financial agencies to support his firm, as he had employed over 30 workers.
Oruge said that plans had reached advanced stages for the operationalisation of the factories in Nembe.
He said that he had been in agriculture business since 1996 and advised Bayelsa people not to depend solely on oil and gas, saying that the state had a vast arable land for agriculture.
Orgue reemphasised that it was time the government started seeing agriculture as a veritable alternative to the hydrocarbon wealth of Bayelsa.
He said agriculture had the potentials of turning the economic fortunes of the state around.