By Our Correspondent
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has expressed confidence that soon food security and food sufficiency will be a reality in Nigeria in general and Imo State in particular.
He said going by the giant strides already recorded in agriculture in Nigeria and government’s policy on the sector, food sufficiency will soon be taken for granted.
Governor Uzodimma who spoke at the flag off ceremony of 2020 Federal Government Agricultural Inputs Distribution to Farmers and Seed Companies in Imo State, described as significant, step by Federal Government towards ensuring food sufficiency, food security and agricultural growth in general.
He said going by the concerted efforts of the Federal Government supported by States, in the next 10 years (that is by 2030) the Nation must have surpassed the United Nations (UN) policy on food and agricultural on the eradication extreme poverty and hunger the world over.
Governor Uzodimma particularly eulogized the efforts of Federal Government in the areas of rice production that has made Nigeria to be a member of the comity of rice producing and exporting Nations, instead of a consumer Nation only.
The governor used the occasion to inform the audience of some magnificent achievements of his administration in the areas of livestock and agricultural production which include: the rehabilitation of Adapalm, the planting of 400,000 oil palms seedlings, the revitalization of Imo Rubber Estates at Emeabiam and Obitti in Owerri West and Ohaji Egbema LGAs respectively, as well as the preparedness of the State towards the establishment of a University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences geared towards making Imo youths accept agriculture as an art and alternative source of economic sustainability.
The Governor seized the opportunity of the flag off to appeal to the Federal Government to embark on the completion and rehabilitation of most Federal Government abandoned agricultural projects in Imo State such as, the abandoned Silo at Ezinachi Okigwe, and if possible, build a new one as the State is expecting bumper agricultural harvest irrespective of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Later when the Governor visited the Victoria Integrated Agro Farms at Umuneke Ngor, in Ngor Okpala local Government Area of the state, he reminded the management of the farm that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the extension of power from the NPDHC 330 line at Alaoji, passing through Egbu and terminating at the farm to ensure an uninterrupted power supply.
The farm management had complained of challenges they face due to poor power supply.
Earlier in his address at the flag off, the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono explained that as part of the concerted efforts to make food available to Nigerians, especially during post Covid-19 period, his Ministry and its research institutions are working towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in good quality seed and making same available to farmers as a foundation for attaining food and nutrition security as well as industrialization.
He said the programme which the Federal Government described as Covid-19 palliatives to farmers nationwide is the seventh in the series of the distribution. Nanono further said the Ministry was glad to distribute 15,000 cocoa seedlings, 300 cartons of capital Utimax Plus, over 5,000 oil palm sprouted nuts, 1,500kg cashew seeds in Imo State.
In addition, he said yam farmers through their national association and other cooperative groups would be supported with 20,000 cuttings and 10,000 foundations seeds of yam in addition to 1,500 bundles of orange fleshed sweet potatoes and 5,000 kilogrammes of groundnut seeds. According to him, the seeds and seedlings, nuts, vines, and other inputs are given to farmers free.
He thanked the Imo State Government for providing an enabling environment and support to the farmers that have contributed a lot to agricultural growth in the State even as he assured the management of Victoria Integrated Agro Farm of his ministry’s support to break even.
In his welcome address, the Imo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Lambert Orisakwe said that Imo State is predominately an agrarian society where every family is engaged in one form of agricultural practice or the other.
He said as such, the State Government has vigorously pursued her agricultural programmes with zeal that has resulted in the revitalization of most ailing industries owned by the State which include Imo State Adapalm, Small-Holders Oil Palm Management Unit, Songhai Farm, Imo Rubber Estate among others.
He thanked the Federal Government for remembering Imo Farmers in the Covid-19 palliatives and promised to use his good offices to ensure they perform optimally.
Also in her goodwill message, the Commissioner for Livestock Development, Mrs. Obiageli Ajoku thanked Governor Uzodimma for creating the ministry and sought the assistance of Nanono in using the ministry to assist Imo people meet their protein needs.