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.
This was contained in a statement signed by Director, Communications, NALDA, Tope Ojeme, when Ikpeazu received a delegation of NALDA, led by the Executive Secretary, Prince Paul Ikonne, at the Government House, Umuahia, 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 the 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 the agency was to ensure the 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.
Ikonne also expressed the readiness of the agency to partner with the state government to resuscitate the Ogwe Golden Chicken Farm.
The Executive Secretary, NALDA, urged communities to make land available for farming, promising that NALDA would provide technical support, training, inputs to encourage Farmers to produce enough food for the nation.
“Every Abian should begin to think about how to optimize every inch of land that is available to us. I want to say sir that your new office places me in a position where it has to be multisectoral in approach.
“We have lands that are not put into use so we are urging Abians and Nigerians at large to make these lands available. NALDA will provide you with the necessary support.
“We will prepare the land, provide the inputs, train the farmers, and provide other technical support and this will help cut unemployment and insecurity will be tackled”, he said.
On the erosion challenge in the state, he said, “I will appeal to Mr President to assist you to intervene at least in drawing the attention of those who manage erosion and desertification issues in Nigeria to preserve and conserve the land we have in erosion ravaged areas and areas that falls under the problem of desertification.
“We call on every citizen to begin to take responsibility in this regard so that we don’t go into practices be it building or farming that will accentuate the problem.”