THE Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, moves to partner with National Agricultural Land Development Agency, NALDA, on Federal Government’s Back-To-Farm programme.
The Governor disclosed when he received delegation of NALDA, led by the Executive Secretary, Prince Paul Ikonne, on a working visit to the State.
He also disclosed that his administration had embarked on building cottage industries in the 17 Local Government Areas of the State, which according to him, the main objective behind his efforts on agribusiness development is basically to position Abia State as a major food processing hub in the South East.
He also maintained that his administration is working hard to ensure that the youth are engaged in meaningful agribusinesses, which had made his administration to come up with two cardinal objectives of job creation and provision of raw materials.
He also promised to collaborate with NALDA in critical areas that would ensure value addition in galvanizing the agricultural sector of the State.
According to the Governor, Abia State remains willing to partner with NALDA, especially to make the state owned Ogwe Golden Chicken in Ukwa West Local Government Area become functional and productive.
However, he lamented challenge of gully erosion that has negatively impacted agriculture and other activities in the State, which demands urgent intervention from the Federal Government to tackle the devastating menace.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, said the mandate of agency was to ensure availability of food, as it had rolled out two schemes, namely Back to Farm and National Young Farmers Scheme, which Abia had been selected among the pilot states.
“You cannot talk about agriculture in Ebonyi without mentioning IFAD-VCDP and FADAMA but the former has played more significant roles in constructing rural-farm roads, provision of farm inputs, among others.
“IFAD-VCDP provided for us the best seed producing equipment in the country and has trained our citizens on seed production among other forms of agricultural skills acquisition abroad.
“The state government rates IFAD-VCDP the best in agriculture intervention and it remains the best of all World Bank-assisted programmes operating in the state,” Nome said.
Nome promised to convey the request for the counterpart fund payment to the governor and commended IFAD-VDCP for including three additional local government areas among those benefiting in Ebonyi.
Mr Sunday Ituma, State Programme Coordinator of IFAD-VCDP, thanked Bala for the visit and assured that the rating of Ebonyi would motivate the office to attain greater height.