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CULTURE AND TOURISM

Anambra Govt assures farmers of brighter future

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  • We are prepared for eventualities – Obiano

ANAMBRA State Government has assured farmers in the state of its preparedness to face squarely all eventualities that may spell doom for farmers in the 2019 farming season.

Governor Willie Obiano, who gave the assurance during the official launching of the 2019 Farming Season, also introduced six new agricultural programmes with theme, “Farm Cluster Development, a Vehicle for Sustainable Agriculture.”

The new agricultural initiatives are Honey Production, Improved Export Promotion, Anambra Farmers’ Shop, Smart Weather Soldiers’ Scheme, Cluster Farm Land Reservation Scheme and Youth in Agriculture Programme.

In his words, “we shall distribute inputs to small scale farmers. Next, we shall launch the Anambra Farmers Shop Initiative and flag off the Apiculture or Honey Bee Farming Programme and then finally, we shall launch the Smart Weather Soldiers Initiative, as well as the Youths in Agriculture programme”.

Governor Willie Obiano stressed that the agricultural programmes embarked upon by his administration were aimed at improving farm yield in the area.

“The performance indicators are all impressive. For instance, the records show that rice production in our dear state has been on a steady increase, rising from 80,000 metric tons in 2014, when I was sworn in to 440,000 metric tons in 2018. Our projection for this planting season is to produce 475,547 metric tons of rice. Similarly, Cassava production rose from 15,324 metric tons when I stepped in to 1,236,409 metric tons in 2018.

“Now we are projecting a cassava output of 2,060, 682 metric tons in 2019. Maize production stood at 22,000 metric last season and we are projecting an output of 63, 255 metric tons of maize for this season. The same thing applies to vegetables where we projected 96,480 metric tons last season but this season we are projecting 321,600 metric tons. Our projection for yam this year is 83,600 metric tons. All these are clear indications that our vision to place Anambra State in the Top-3 of agricultural production in Nigeria is firmly on course ‘ the governor said.

Governor Obiano announced the reintroduction of school farming programme to stimulate the interest of students in agricultural production.

“We are also re-introducing the ‘Ugbo Umu-akwukwo’ or School Farm programme into primary and secondary schools to inculcate agricultural skills early in our school children. The produce from the School Farm initiative shall be shared between the students and teachers and re-investment in more seeds,” Obiano said.

He noted that cluster farming had a lot of benefits for agricultural production in the country.

The governor regretted that floods and herders- farmers clashes affected farming in the area last year, while rolling out six rice threshers and over three hundred million naira for disbursement to boost production.

A representative of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ogochukwu Nkamnebe, urged farmers to form clusters to maximize their production.

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba said the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project would construct 500 kilometres of feeder roads in the area to enhance evacuation of farm produce.

The State Project Coordinator, Value Chain Development Programme, Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, noted that Smart Weather Scheme was designed to reduce losses incurred by farmers during the rainy season.

Contributing, the State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Mr Joe Madubuko, expressed happiness over interventions made by the government to promote agricultural production.

State Director on Agriculture, Mr. Emmanuel Nnamdi, in an interview with journalists said a good number of Ndi Anambra are into agriculture either  through producing, marketing, processing or consuming and any action taken by government would affect the lives of a good number of people.

He hailed Governor Obiano for having key interest in agriculture.

Also speaking to the press, the MD/CEO of Anambra State Small Business Agency, Chief Clement Chukwuka, disclosed that N1.5 billion will be pumped in to  agriculture in the 2019 farming season by the agency to consolidate the enviable achievements already recorded in the sector.

Chief Chukwuka delightfully confirmed that ASBA sponsored agropreneurs dominated the entire participants and exhibitors at the event, commending the loans beneficiaries for living up to expectations in repaying the funds, in respect of N2 billion initial disbursement by ASBA to MSMES in the state.

He applauded Governor Obiano for keenly elevating agriculture as the flagship of the APGA administration’s “Pillars of Development”, and establishing strong institutions, like ASBA, ANSIPPA, ASHIA, etc to sustain his revolutionary policy thrusts that would outlive the present administration for the benefits of Ndi Anambra.

The event witnessed 21 stands from all local governments who displayed their assorted farm produce.

Anambra State Government used the occasion to showcase the agricultural potentials of the state, as well as sensitised stakeholders on the policy direction of the state.

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