Delta State government has distributed 549 tons of grains to fish and pig farmers across the state, warning that any beneficiary caught selling the grains would be arrested and prosecuted.

Speaking during the distribution of the grains at the ADP office in Ibusa, Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state, Secretary of the State Palliative Committee, Olorogun Jaro Egbo said the state government was following the directive of the Federal Government that the grains should not be sold.

Egbo, who is also the Special Adviser to the governor on Transport, cautioned beneficiaries of the state government’s gesture not to sell the grains freely distributed to them, adding that it is a criminal offence for anybody to do so.

According to him, the state government will blacklist anybody, any group or cluster found to have sold the products giving to them, pointing out that such individuals or cluster would not benefit from future distribution exercises.

“We are following the Federal Government directive that the palliative should not be sold. So, anybody who sells anything here will be arrested and prosecuted. It is a criminal offence for anybody to sell any of the grains.

“So, if you think you are going to sell, you are endangering your life and you are endangering your farm because we will go after you, arrest you and prosecute you.

“We are going to blacklist anybody, any group or cluster that we found to have sold our product. They will be blacklisted because more things are coming, more grains, more beans and more rice are coming,” Egbo said.

He disclosed that 577 fish farmers covering various groups across the state were to receive 398 tons of grains, adding that over 140 pig farmers would, also receive over 151 tons of grains, making it a total of 549 tons of grains.

“Today, we are distributing grains to pig farmers and those in piggery group are over 140 persons. We are giving them over 151 tons of grains.

“For the fish farmers, we have 577 persons, covering various groups across the state and we are distributing 398 tons of grains to them making it a total of 549 tons that will be distributed to the two groups today.

“The numbers were taken from across the state. We took some in clusters, we took some from their localities and we ensured that they are small farm holders who are more affected by the high cost of feeds.

“This is to serve as a palliative to the small farm holders. Our governor is encouraging agricultural productivity in the state.

“We will ensure that we follow the rules by ensuring that these grains get to the end users that they get to the small farm holders, not mill owners who can afford some of these things. The small farm holders are the worst hit in terms of high cost of grains.

“The governor has kept aside, N2 billion for tomatoes and other vegetables farming. We are also planting rice across the state. We are starting with Aviara in Isoko for rice farming,” the Special Adviser said.

Also speaking, the Executive Assistants to the governor on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. George Oyefia, said the state government’s gesture was essentially made for small farm holders as a result of their vulnerability because, he said, the big players can afford to buy feeds in quantity and at a cheaper rate.

Oyefia pointed out that the state government was distributing the grains to cushion the effects of high cost of maze and reduce unemployment in the state, adding that the state governor believes that the more the small farm holders, the more he is taking the youths out of the streets.

“Again, the governor believes that when he gives palliatives to small holders, they will remain in business because the essence of giving to them is to ensure that they actually remain in business.

“We are aware that the present galloping inflation in the country is affecting them more than the big players, hence this gesture by the state government,” he said, adding that Delta State is ahead of every other state in terms of food security because the governor has a lot of agricultural programmes on ground.

In the area of livestock, the Executive Assistant said; “we are trying to partner with some big farms under the MORE Agenda, to see that we go into the production of frozen chickens because the cost of fish in the market is very high.

“So, we are already talking with partners who will package frozen broilers for the state. We are sure that in little while, Delta will be exporting agricultural products.”

In their separate responses, the Chairman of Fishing Cooperative of Nigeria, Delta State Chapter, Ogbueshi Adim Nwokobia and the Delta State

Chairman of the Pigs Farmers Association, Engr. Mike Okotie, applauded the state government for the gesture which, they said, would significantly improve their productivity.