person_pin Rita Ureh
query_builder June 8, 2018 03:24:34

By John Ndu

Attani (Ogbaru LGA), June 7, 2018 (MOI) Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra says he will intensify efforts at promoting food sufficiency in the state.

According to him, he will in the process create employment opportunities in agricultural sector for the youths.

Obiano said this during the launch of 2018 farming season at Central School field, Attani, Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA).

The theme of the farming flag off is: ``Developing Modern Agriculture Through Cluster Farming Sustainability’’.

The governor said: ``the launch marked the commencement of farming season to boost food production in line with the vision of my administration’’.

Obiano noted that his administration would invest heavily in the provision of access to capital and intensive farm machineries like tractors and other equipment to farmers.

This, he said would enable the state to meet the target of cultivating 25,000 hectares of land this farming season. 

``We have plans to access the N3.5 billion, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) facility for Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).

``We are currently developing other agricultural schemes to ensure that the set targets on rice, cassava and fish value chain are achieved,’’ Obiano said.

The governor said that to achieve this, his administration had finalised plans to invest N1.5billion in land development, N2 billion in providing infrastructure and N600million in procuring agricultural inputs and machineries this planting season.

``We plan to grow our cooperative societies from 2,401 to 2,836 in 2018.

``We recorded increase in the number of cooperatives from 2,285 in 2016 to 2401 in the 2017 planting season. Rice production rose from 244,235 metric tons in 2016 to 345,000 metric tons in 2017.

``Cassava production shot up from 1,792,596 in 2016 to1,881,000 metric tons in 2017, while maize production increased from 39,902 to43,521 metric tons in the last planting.

``Land utilisation also increased in the period under review and stood at 49,000 hectares because of an upsurge in the number of people coming into the agricultural sector,’’ Obiano explained.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Afam Mbanefo noted that the theme was chosen to help to encourage the small holder farming development.

``Clustering allows farmers to share resources for production and collective marketing of their produce, build capacity and improve farm responsiveness to change in the market place and encourage the production of target-crops for backward integration.

``In 2016, the programmes and investors contributed not less than 25 per cent growth, of our state’s target production in rice and in 2017 and about 37 per cent of our target production in rice.

``This goes to show the organic but consistent increase in production,’’ Mbanefo said.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Farm Implementation and Mechanisation, Mr Paul Nwosu pleaded with the governor to construct more access roads to enable farmers to evacuate their produce.

A representative from CBN, Mr Chucks Sokari said that they would continue to provide adequate assistance to farmers to enable them to build food sufficiency.

Mr Nnamdi Ibezim, a representative from Federal Ministry of Agriculture reaffirmed their collaboration between the state and the federal government to ensure food sufficiency.

The farmers, however, used the opportunity to display their agricultural produce ranging from yam, cassava, and fresh fish. (MOI)