Anambra mulls Town-hall meeting on Agriculture

By The Citizen

Anambra State plans a high-level Townhall Meeting on agriculture to be hosted by the state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

The planned meeting was one of the highlights of a close-door meeting that recently took place in Abuja, between the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and a special delegation from Anambra State Ministry of Agriculture led by the governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano.

The meeting came on the heels of a string of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) which the government of Anambra State recently signed with big time investors who are currently setting up shops in the food-belt of the state to commence large scale mechanized farming.

Giving assurances of the Ministry's readiness for the proposed Meeting, Dr. Adesina said, 'we are going to have a special agricultural engagement in Anambra State. I will come with a strong team and we shall have high level deliberations on Agriculture.'

According to him, the Federal Government has just approved an Agricultural Mechanization Scheme estimated at N50bn which would finally weed out the dependence on hoes and cutlasses by Nigerian farmers. The mechanization support grant will enable the farmers to hire tractors and engage in more modern farm practices.

The Minister also declared that the Federal Government would fast-track the full realization of the proposed Staple Crops Processing Zone that has been designated for Omor in Ayamelum Local Government Area of the state, describing the Mill as very important to his ministry.

Dr. Adesina also lauded Governor Obiano's achievements in the past six months which he said had fully restored the confidence of the investment community, leading to the recent acquisition of the moribund Omor Rice Mill by Joseph Agro Limited and the planned investment of $150m to revamp the mill.

Said he; 'My Ministry is one of the first few places you visited when you were sworn in as governor of Anambra State. You are one governor that got it right. You came here to share your plans for the agricultural sector and I could see that you were very passionate to make an impact there. Your administration is moving at an incredible speed. I think it comes from your private sector background. I followed your efforts to provide security in Anambra State and I am happy that the benefits have started pouring in now.'

The Minister also assured the readiness of the Ministry to partner with Anambra State in Aqua-culture, promising to lend critical support to governor Obiano's plans to make the state a leader in the production of fish fingerlings in the country.

Earlier in his opening remarks, governor Obiano had appealed for the assistance of the Minister to ensure that Anambra State is adopted by the ministry as one of the leading agricultural states in Nigeria.

The governor further explained that his administration had set a target to make Anambra State the leading producer of fingerlings in West Africa. Outlining the achievements of his administration in the area of agriculture, governor Obiano maintained that with the inflow of investments into the sector, the state was well on its way to becoming the first agro-state in Nigeria.

He also sought the assistance of the Minister to allow the state take over the Lower Anambra River Basin which had been lying fallow for a long time and integrate it into the overall master-plan of the proposed Omor Crop Processing Zone.