Posted by Admin | 6 years ago | 2,186 times
It is no longer news that governments at all levels are working at diversifying her economy to deal with the issues of the dwindling oil price and economic recession in Nigeria. One of such efforts is reverting back to Agriculture which used to be the main stay of Nigeria’s economy before the discovery of oil.
Abia State government is not left out of this quest as she has embarked on oil palm revolution, ginger and pineapple plantation and cassava farming in high yielding varieties.
This is part of government’s efforts at agricultural revolution and making Abia an economic dependent state. The Abia State government says its plans at developing oil palm value chain is to make the state the number one in oil production, not just in Nigeria but Africa.
To achieve this, the state government has set a target to develop 7.5 million seedlings between 2016 and 2019. This would be achieved in phases. While the first phase will deal with 2 million seedlings, the second will produce 3 million, while the third will deal with 2.5 million seedlings.
At Ahiaba Umueze in Aba North Local Government Area of the state, visited by newsmen, it was discovered that over 1.5 million nuts have already been planted.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Uzor Azubuike while fielding questions from newsmen at the location said the Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu led administration had through the project employed over a thousand people especially youths and women and created wealth for families.
He said the seedling were got at #350 and would replicate over 700 million naira in the next one year, thereby increasing the revenue generation of the state.
The Agric boss revealed that the state is establishing a Community Based Oil Palm Project which intends to inject the seedlings into the communities, achieve this.
The seedlings according to him would be sold to farmers at subsidized rates, which would be tested with the selected pilot communities. The essence he said, is to ensure that every farm land has two to three stands of high yielding oil palm growing in it.
This is also geared towards tactically phasing out the low yielding varieties by the state government.
Under the arrangement, each community would have an anchor that would buy off Fresh Fruit Bunches, FFB, for procession, making it possible for every community to have a mini palm processing mill, while the state builds an oil palm refinery.
The Commissioner further revealed that following the zero tolerance to land waste of the state government policy, it has also embarked on ginger and pineapple production at Ohambele, Ukwa East Local Government.
The government is procuring a ginger processing machine to enhance effectiveness and sustainability.
Also, at Omuma Uzo, Ukwa West Local Government, the state government has began the multiplication of high yielding cassava varieties.
Hon. Azubuike, explained that the varieties which were gotten from the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, are TME 419 and Pro Vitamin A.
He said the interest of the state government is on the stem which would be distributed to farmers because of its disease resistant, high yielding and more nutritious qualities.
According to the Commissioner for Agriculture, the state is recruiting extension agents to be sent to communities to educate the people on modern ways of farming in a bid to sustain the project.
Some residents of the host communities who spoke to newsmen commended the state government for such a giant stride and pledged total support for the project.
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