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Otti Reiterates Readiness To Create Enabling Environment For Farmers

Otti

Abia State government has reiterated its readiness and determination to create enabling ambience to empower farmers to produce more food, process their farm produces, create jobs and add value to realize more revenue for agro produces in every locality.

Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, speaking at the flag-off of Abia North senatorial zone farming season in Bende Local Government Area of the state, expressed his zeal to reposition agriculture in the state through revolutionizing agricultural practice from sustenance to mechanized level.

Represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Monica Ironkwe, Otti described the theme of the year 2024 farming season: ‘Boosting Food Production; Let’s Get Back to the Farm,’ as apt and most appropriate, particularly at this time of food scarcity and hunger.

Harping on the importance of diversifying Abia economy, embracing agriculture as an economic mainstay and the need to conserve foreign reserve by curbing appetite for imported foods that can easily be produced locally, Governor Otti pointed out that Abia State, with its blessed vast granaries vegetation, arable land and abundant water resources could unlock its revenue potentials through oil palm, rubber, rice, cocoa, cassava, fisheries, livestock production among others.

The governor saluted the farmers for their unwavering support for his leadership, assuring that his administration would not fail in its mandate to build a sustainable Abia economy through agriculture and boost food sufficiency through encouraging Abians to embrace farming.

Earlier, Mayor of Bende Local Government Area, Hon. Chijioke Nwankwo, who described Dr. Otti, as a governor who does not toy with agriculture, disclosed that after two weeks of assumption of office, he, in company of the Senior Special Assistant to the governor and the governor’s Special Adviser on Agriculture, took Bulgarians round the local government for soil sampling and testing, which he expressed optimism would usher in and boost mechanized farming in the area.

He also disclosed plans to train farmers in the local council come April 12; an opportunity he said would help in improved production.

He added, “Abia North senatorial zone farming season flag-off is a significant event. We all know that for a long time now, it has not been like this. Governor Otti is running a responsible government and he is responsive to the yearnings of his people. We are also working with the governor and replicating what he is doing in Bende Local Government. “Recently, we distributed over 150 rice seedlings to selected rice farmers to enable them go into their farms in this farming season.”

Also, Mayor of Ohafia Local Government Area, Chief Onuoha Ogba, who was represented by his deputy, Hon. Oju Uka, described Governor Otti as governor of farmers, whose plans for agriculture is huge.

In a speech, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Ijeoma Aguwa, disclosed the ministry’s intention to create database for genuine farmers to eliminate political farmers, which will be done at the local government levels.

According to a farmer and Chief Executive Officer of Osikapa Abia, Pastor Okechukwu Dike, who said farmers were happy to witness the flag-off, expressed confidence that with mechanized farming, Governor Otti would gradually make Abia one of the food hubs in the South-East region and Nigeria in general.

He opined that giving farmers loans and grants would also motivate them in their farming activities.

In a remark, an agriculturist, Rev. Blessed Amalambu, said the present situation in Nigeria, requires all, including the youth, to go into farming, be it in commercial or sustenance level.

He described Governor Otti as an agriculture-friendly governor, who wants to put Abia on a better footing and encouraged him to liaise with agencies that will make available farming tools at lower rate to help boost the morale of farmers.

He said, “Farming is not a dirty job and the season we are in is key, if Abia must get out of the list of hunger stricken states, there is the clarion call for every Abian to go back to the farm. From the beginning, God created man to till the land and manage it.”

The event featured the visit to produce exhibition stand; presentation of prize award to best farm produce exhibition and distribution of improved farm inputs and seedlings to farmers.