Obiano Charges Committee on Agriculture to Kick-Start Food Revolution in Anambra State

By James Eze

The Governor of Anambra State Chief Willie Obiano rounded off a busy first working week in Awka by charging the Committee on Agriculture to revolutionize food production in the state.

Agriculture is one of the Four Pillars of development upon which Obiano's economic blueprint for Anambra State rests. Inaugurating a new Committee on Agriculture in Awka, the state capital, the new governor challenged the Committee to produce a comprehensive agricultural blueprint with holistic recommendations highlighting medium and long term targets that would eventually lead to sufficiency in rice, maize, cassava and poultry production in Anambra State.

Governor Obiano further reminded the Committee headed by Professor Emeka Omaliko that Anambra was blessed with many hectares of arable land which favours both dry and wet farming all year round, and charged them to advice on how to get the best out of the land.

According to Obiano, 'You were selected for your expertise and we want you to make specific and actionable recommendations that would enable us achieve set targets. To give you an idea, if currently Anambra is farming on one field, we want you to tell us how we can cultivate on hundred football fields effectively.' We expect definite information on how to advance agriculture in Anambra. Anyone who goes with the mindset or says 'it is not achievable, is not welcome here and I won't hesitate to throw the person out, but once you are ready to work, you will get all the support.' Obiano asserted.

The Governor's terms of reference for the Agriculture Committee include amongst other tasks: To prepare the agriculture blueprint for Anambra; prepare funding and financing model for agric; carry out any research necessary for the assignment; determine the current output of each of the target crops; map the state to determine areas where specific crops can be grown for optimum yield, determine gaps in the production of each of the four target areas, and what it would take to meet and surpass the yield; create an effective monitoring mechanism to track the implementation of the Agriculture blueprint; and identify Donor agencies active in agriculture and how we can collaborate etc.

Assuring the committee of his support the governor urged the Committee to get on with the task without further delay; stressing that agriculture is a cardinal Pillar in his development plans for Anambra which must be tackled with dispatch.

Governor Obiano also informed the Committee that his administration would increase the speed of getting Certificate of Occupancy in the state and set-up a one-stop shop for procurement and approval of relevant documents to encourage investors to come and engage in spin-offs from agriculture like agro-allied manufacturing and packaging.

Responding on behalf of the Committee, Professor Emeka Omaliko thanked the Governor for the opportunity given the members to serve. The Committee is expected to submit its report in four weeks.