An agriculturist and renowned practical farmer in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, Luke Chukwu says the Federal Government was now coming to the right track by accepting agriculture as key to diversifying the ailing economy, and put it on the wheel of recovery from the raging economic recession.
This is as he is setting aside 20,000 yam tubers to plant for the 2017 planting season.
He said the number of yams tubers was the biggest that any farmer in the state can plant at this point in time, because most farmers lack the skill and power to go into yam cultivation. Some farmers, who spoke to Business South-South/ South East confirmed that Chukwu’s yam tubers were quite impressive.
Chukwu told our correspondent at his expanse yam barn in Umuapu, Ohaji/Egbema LGA that he was set to plant over 30,000 yam tubers for 2017 farming season against 14,000 seedlings he planted in 2016.
He had gone to study History and Archeology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; but due to the advice of his father, he diverted to the Faculty of Agriculture to study Agronomy. After his graduation, he went into teaching, though he did not teach Agriculture.
The yam farmer stated that he left teaching for politics, and at the same time engaged in peasant farming. He later became a two-time Councillor, Executive Chairman and member, Imo House of House of Assembly for Ohaji/Egbema state constituency.
Chukwu said he initially went into farming in order to create employment opportunities for people, and to feed his large family; but later ventured into commercial agriculture.
“I was a teacher for over 18 years, and I found nothing there because the salary could not take care of my large family. Now, I am into full time commercial agriculture,” he stated; adding that he decided to find a way to salvage the situation by going into agriculture, a move that yielded more than he used to get, because what he got in one month when he started the agriculture newly was far more than five months of his salary as a teacher.
He said farming or agriculture has a lot of prospects for those who are into it, especially the farmers because they can plant for commercial purposes and feed their family and sell to others at the same time.
He said that he was committed to the Federal Government’s focus to reduce the poverty level in the country, and to diversify the economy through agriculture and the solid minerals sectors. He called on the Federal Government to fund agriculture adequately in order to attract the interest of the young people. Chukwu, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari, and called for improved technology and innovation in the agricultural sector, including the distribution of improved seedlings to real farmers.