Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

From TCNEWS

Abia State Government says it is poised and determined to create the enabling ambience to empower farmers to produce more food, process their farm produce, create jobs and value addition to realize more revenue for the AGRO produce in every locality.

Speaking at the flag-off of Abia North Senatorial zone farming season in Bende Local Government Area of the state, Governor Alex Otti represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Monica Ironkwe, also expressed his zeal to reposition agriculture in the state through revolutionizing agricultural practice from sustenance to mechanized level.

He described the theme of the year 2024 farming season, “Boosting food production; let’s get back to the farm”, as apt and most appropriate, particularly as this time of food scarcity and hunger.

Gov. Otti, who harped on the importance of diversifying Abia economy, embracing agriculture as an economic mainstay and the need to conserve foreign reserve by curbing off appetite for imported foods that can easily be produced locally, pointed out that Abia with its blessed vast granaries vegetation, arable land and abundant water resources could unlock its revenue potentials through the oil palm, rubber, rice, cocoa, cassava, fisheries, livestock production among others.

The governor who also saluted the farmers for their unwavering support to his leadership, assured that his administration will not fail in its mandate to build a sustainable Abia economy through agriculture and boosting food sufficiency through encouraging Abians to embrace farming.

Earlier in his speech, the Mayor of Bende Local Government Area, Hon. Barr. Chijioke Nwankwo, who described Dr. Otti, as a Governor who does not toy with agriculture, disclosed that after two weeks of assumption of office, he in company of the Senior Special Assistant to the governor and also the Governor’s Special Adviser on Agriculture, took the Bulgarians round the local government for soil sampling and testing, which he expressed optimism would usher in and boost mechanized farming in the area.

Also he disclosed plans to train farmers in the L.G.A, come April 12, an opportunity, he said would help in improved production.

“Abia North Senatorial zone farming season flag-off is a significant event. We all know that for a long time now, it has not been like this. Gov. Alex Otti is running a responsible Government and he is responsive to the yearnings of his people. We are also working with the governor and replicating what he is doing in Bende Local Government. Recently, we distributed over 150 rice seedlings to selected rice farmers to enable them go into their farms in this farming season”, Nwankwo also disclosed.

Also Chief Onuoha Ogba, the Mayor of Ohafia L.G.A, who was represented by his deputy, Hon. Oju Uka, described Gov. Otti as the governor of farmers, whose plans for agriculture is huge.

In a brief speech, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Ijeoma Aguwa, disclosed the ministry’s intention to create database for genuine farmers to eliminate political farmers, which will be done at the local government levels.

Interacting with our correspondent, a farmer and the Chief Executive Officer of Osikapa Abia, Pastor Okechukwu Dike, who said farmers were happy to witness the flag-off, expressed confidence that with the mechanized farming, Gov. Otti would gradually make Abia one of the food hubs in the Southeast region and Nigeria in general.

He opined that giving farmers loans and grants would also motivate them in their farming activities.

Also in an interview with our correspondent, an Agriculturist, Rev. Blessed Amalambu, said the present situation in Nigeria, required all including the youth to go into farming, be in commercial or sustenance.

Pix: Rev. Blessed Amalambu in his farm.

He described Gov. Otti as an Agriculture friendly governor, who wants to put Abia in a better footing and encouraged him to liaise with agencies that will make available farming tools at a lower rate to help boost the morale of farmers.

“Farming is not a dirty job and the season we are in is key, if Abia must get out of the list of hunger stricken state, there is the clarion call for every Abian to go back to the farm. From the beginning, God created man to till the land and manage it”, Amalambu, who is also the Secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN Abia State chapter said. 

The event featured the visit to produce exhibition stand; presentation of prize award to best farm produce exhibition and distribution of improved farm inputs and seedlings to farmers.

By NWAMARA

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