Uzor Azubuike: the new agricultural revolutionary in Abia State

By Factnews on 29/05/2017

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...2 years after....Part 1

Last night we watched and listened to the commissioners in Governor Okezie Ikpeazu's administration show case their achievements to stakeholders and media practitioners at the international conference center Umuahia. Permit me to drop my personal observations on some of the cabinet members who have really impressed me as a citizen of the state and believer in the Abia project.

Frankly, Honorable Uzo Azubuike has impressed me and hopefully Ndi Abia.

The former Federal House of Representative member who humbly accepted appointment as Commissioner for Agriculture in 2015 has started a revolution in the Agric sector in Abia State, without much noise, but through sheer devotion to duties and attention to details.

A lawyer by training, his appointment and performance in office within 2 years has confirmed what I always believed about political positions and leadership; an office is as big as the occupant. While many commissioners of agriculture have come and gone in the state, I doubt that many Abians will remember any of them with substantial achievements that can be termed revolutionary.

I suppose those former commissioners of Agriculture must have had achievements to showcase but last night Honorable Azubuike didn't really need to say much. Folks knew about his projects and programs.

Just a week ago, he was in Abakaliki (Ebonyi state) to teach our sister state government how to grow mushrooms in commercial quantities, on the specific request of Governor Dave Umahi, following his visit to Abia on peer review and cooperation mission.

Today Abia is pioneering large scale mushroom production in Nigeria and yours sincerely recently visited the ministry of Agriculture along Library avenue Umuahia to buy mushrooms for my asusu vegetable soup. (Only Abiriba people will understand that bit on asusu, ugbogho kei kei and mushrooms as the best combo before agege bread and beans). While there I saw many citizens streaming to buy mushrooms while others were there to learn commercial mushroom production.

Do you know that you can make up to N75k daily from production and sell of high yielding and nutritious made in Abia mushrooms? Surely pays more than "pay per article" social media occupation and I urge our young people to consider this as a preferred occupation or salary support engagement. Willing Abia born trainees are welcome to learn at zero fees.

Last year December I saw hundreds of bags of rice marked as "Abia Rice" and wondered if we were back to the era of buying rebranded foreign rice for distribution at Xmas. When I complained about the return to old ways, my colleague, Enyinnaya Appolos, pointed out to me that the Rice was actually produced and bagged in Abia state under the supervision of the ministry of agriculture. My brief meeting with Commissioner Azubuike himself revealed that there were actually more than 2000 bags harvested from Abia State and bagged for sell to our people.

Wow....Abia State producing rice in commercial quantities? Dr M I Okpara must be smiling at the other side.

Just recently I visited the much trumpeted Ahiaba Umueze palm plantation and was stunned by what I saw. More than 40,000 high yielding palm seedlings of high quality but short height that matures and yields within months. The Tenera specie is a crossbreed of the pacifera and dura which is best for both oil production and extraction of the nuts and the palms when planted, will after 11 months of nursery  start fruiting within a space of 2-3 years if properly managed.

Malaysia should get ready for competition.

The Commisioner is targeting two million palms within the life time of the Okezie administration that made Agriculture one of the 5 development pillars.

Interestingly, the Commissioner whispered to me that soon all major road dividers in Abia State will have those palm seedlings planted to beautify the streets in an eco-friendly manner and also yield palm fruits for consumption. He also confirmed that his ministry is selling to members of the public across the 17 LGAs wishing to use palm trees to beautify their homes and properties or to start a palm plantation.

Last Wednesday at Ohafia during the Governor's thank you engagement, I actually saw a ministry of Agriculture truck selling palm seedlings to members of the public. Enthusiastically, our people rushed to buy as many as they could and I recorded with my camera.

Aside all those efforts, the Ministry of Agriculture under the leadership of Uzo Azubuike has helped to obtain grants and loans for farmers in the state. While this is not exactly new, under the direct guidance and supervision of Governor Ikpeazu, he has moved to ensure that only genuine farmers receive the facilities. The money is not for political farmers but rather ready farmers with real farms engaged in Agriculture as a profession.

If you are a qualified Abia born farmer please rush to the ministry of agriculture Umuahia and apply for the available grants and loans.

Many will be surprised to read that Abia state is on course to becoming the highest cocoa and cashew producing state in Nigeria. Permit me to just point out that Nigeria's highest cocoa farmer and award winner is from Abia. If you visit the Uturu and Umunneochi area of Abia state cashew is "aturu tawa". While attending an event at ABSU few months ago, I plucked cashew freely to feed myself without paying shishi to anyone. Those trees dot the landscape of the school and even the thousands of students there can't consume all, so I helped them.

Under the watch of Honorable Azubuike, farmers are getting fertilizers directly from the ministry in addition to free agric extension services. Equipment leasing for mechanized agriculture is now as easy as entering a keke to your destination.

Honorable Azubuike is also supporting  other commercial Agricultural businesses like poultry and fish farming. A close friend and associate of mine recently went into fish farming and poultry business because of the encouragement he received from the agric focus of the state government. The former importer of materials from Europe and America is today exporting dry fish (Oke Agu Dry Fish) to Europe and America with his well packaged products pictured here. He recently whispered to me after I visited his production location at Okpu Umuobo Aba that there was more money in Agriculture than in importation.

That's tempting.

Following the strides of Honorable Azubuike, I have already planted Abia sold palms at my PH residence and I am gearing up to convert a personal property at Abiriba to a farm and cattle ranch. Na only money dey yab me, for now.

If you permit me to rate a government I serve in some capacity, I will personally rate ministry of Agriculture under Honorable Uzo Azubuike among the top 5% in performance, without fear of contradiction.

JOK

NB: in subsequent reviews I will rate other ministries and commissioners  I consider top performers in the top 5%. My personal rating is what it is: only my personal views based on keen observation. Others are free to disagree but I suspect that as a common Abian my views might just represent that of the majority of keen observers not polluted by political bias.

Next up will be works, education, Finance, health, Information, Transport etc, as time permits.





































































































JOK

OK Boss

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JOK

 

Posted on May, 29 2017

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