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2022 Farming Season kicks off in Anambra

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THE official launch of the 2022 Farming Season by the governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo on Wednesday, June 15, at Ekwueme Square, Awka, serves the purpose of pitching agriculture as a pivotal contributor to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

  From the early days, subsistence farming had been the driving force of the people’s agricultural needs. The mechanisation of farming over the years has grandly improved the stake of agriculture and the food value chain of the state that takes honours as “the Light of the Nation.”

  The bold stride of Anambra State in the field of agriculture is showcased through the flagging-off of the 2022 Farming Season. The farmers take pride of place in the sustainable development of the homeland and the general improvement of the social well-being of the people.

  The drive to boost food production is at the very heart of Governor Soludo’s mandate in Anambra State. The great vision is to make the state the food basket of Nigeria.

  The potentials are outstanding for agriculture as Anambra’s economic pillar and extensive source of employment. The vast agrarian communities are virgin territories for economic empowerment. Wealth creation and poverty alleviation are interwoven in the agricultural endowment.

  Anambra State is not an island unto itself as it is conjoined to the food security question across the globe. The World Bank report of 2020 states that about 690 million people, that is, 8.9 per cent of the global population are wallowing in hunger. This figure happens to be up by nearly 60 million in five years. It stands to reason that the food security challenge would become more difficult in the years ahead. The calculation is that the world will need to produce about 70 per cent more food by 2050 to feed an estimated population of nine billion people.

  It is heart-warming though that Anambra State has taken bold steps in ensuring food sufficiency. There has been a remarkable increase in the crop production yield through the adoption of the best agronomic practices.

  The state has established partnerships with the likes of Cosharis Group in rice production and processing in the state; Chelsea Farms Limited in rice and cassava production and processing; and Lynden Farms in the establishment of integrated poultry produce.

Anambra State has also partnered with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda project in the development of infrastructure to boost the production of rice and cassava.

  Farmers from all the 21 local government areas of the state are   de to receive incentives such as improved cassava stems, rice seeds and multiform modern seedlings. Governmental support for the farmers will of course improve with Governor Soludo’s solid charge toward providing credible solutions for the agricultural needs of the state. 

  The provision of agricultural equipment for the rendering farmers is a policy that cannot be countermanded. It is noticeable that young people are now embracing farming in Anambra State.

The youthful farmers will be duly empowered to engage in agriculture for sustainable development.

  The government is steadfast in the drive to mechanise agriculture and encourage the production of target crops for backward integration. It is incumbent on the administration to stimulate agro-business and investment by taking advantage of the opportunities created by the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport at Umueri to boost export activities.

  The Ministry of Agriculture has in its custody well-refrigerated vehicles for the transportation of vegetables to the ports for onward export to the wider world.

  The government encourages ndi Anambra to farm anywhere they   can find any free patch of land as one does not always necessarily need to have hectares of land at one’s disposal before farming can be done. Farming can be done in the homes and gardens with sand-filled organic fertilizer bags. 

  Anambra State has put into full utilisation the CBN-funded Accelerated Development Scheme (AADS). It amounts to a revolution that rice production has risen from an insignificant 80,000 metric tonnes per annum in 2014, to the phenomenal 440,000 metric tonnes per annum in 2021.

Also, cassava production increased from 276,000 metric tonnes in 2014 to more than 2.1 million metric tonnes in 2021. Maize production rose from 16,000 metric tonnes in 2015 to more than 64,000 metric tonnes in 2021, while vegetable production increased from 48,000 metric tonnes in 2015 to more than 322,000 metric tonnes in 2021.

What is even more remarkable is that land utilisation now stands at over 95,200 hectares due to the influx of more people to agriculture. The current count is that Anambra has over 160,000 farmers and 3,000 duly registered co-operative societies. The farmers have made the swift transition from one-season farming to all-year-round farming with the increasing use of irrigation and the adoption of global best practices in agriculture.

  The grand flagging off of the 2022 Farming Season is a sure pointer to a bumper harvest.

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