A leading Governorship Aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the coming Anambra State election Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, said that Governor Willie Obiano’s led administration in the state, grossly under funded the agricultural sector.
He noted that the combination of lack of technological development, political will, inefficient distribution of agricultural inputs and insufficient government support has led to underinvestment in agriculture in the State.
The PDP Aspirant who said this while unveiling his plan on agriculture, said the sector contributes about 21.9 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment to close to 36.4 percent of the country’s population, especially for those in the rural areas.
Dr. Okwenna who said that the aforesaid data was drawn from (2019 estimates), added that agriculture often serves as a fall back to national economy in times of national economic emergency hence regarded the mainstay of any economy.
He however, lamented that agriculture is still practiced on a subsistence level in the State despite the abundance of arable lands and other natural endowments that should have made Anambra a great agricultural State.
“The total real investment in agriculture is less than the number anticipated or highlighted in the media,” he further observed.
The former Commissioner of Environment in the State, disclosed that if given the opportunity to serve as governor of the State his administration, shall invest massively in agriculture to make Anambra a key agricultural state in Nigeria.
“Combined with our quest for industrial development, we shall not only produce primary agricultural products, but will be committed to transforming them into finished and semi-finished products for distribution to other parts of Nigeria, West African Sub-region and for export out of Africa.
“Agriculture and agribusiness shall provide Ndi Anambra with large number of jobs, food, raw materials and contributes to food security, poverty reduction, wealth creation and to the development of trade and the economy of the State.
“We will designate Awka North, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Oyi, Ogbaru, Ekwusigo, Nnewi South, Ihiala, Orumba North and Orumba South Local Governments as the Agricultural Belts of Anambra State, based on the availability of arable lands and favourable climatic conditions prevalent in the areas. Under this arrangement, lands within these Agricultural belts, will be dedicated for increased agricultural production,” he said.
Dr. Okwenna promised that his administration shall within the Agricultural Belts create Farm Estates where farmers are leased land for agricultural purposes for a period of time.
He added, “Farmers in these estates shall be encouraged and supported to mass produce tomatoes, vegetables, pepper, garden eggs, cucumber, watermelon, okra, teferia (Ugu), plantain, banana, cassava, yams, maize, rice, beans etc. We shall promote irrigation farming within the mapped-out Farm Estates to ensure all the year round farming activities.
“Access roads to these Farm Estates will be of top priority for the government for easy evacuation of produce.
There will be provisions for residential farmer’s apartments for in-farm residents”.
He called on Ndi Anambra all over the world to join him so as to take Anambra State to the next level through agriculture.
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