The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, paid a visit to the State recently. During his visit, he expressed dismay at the decay of the Imo Modern Poultry in Avutu, Obowo local government of the state and has promised to ensure the farm enterprise was resuscitated.
The minister also promised to help boost the Imo Oil Palm Industry, known before as Adapalm. While visiting the oil palm plantation at Egbema, he promised to help expand the estate with ‘new plantings of up to 3,000 hectares,’ in addition to the existing 4,000 hectares of farmland, of which he described the palm trees as ‘old.’ “We will help the state with tenera seedlings for 3,000 hectares,” he promised.
The minister praised the efforts of the state’s commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs. Adaora Ijezie, who, he said, persuaded him to embark on a visit to see what is being done on agriculture in Imo State. Dr. Adesina promised to revive and upgrade the five cassava SME projects in the state as well as establish there one of the new 18 large scale High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) plants.
The one for the state is expected to process 72,000 metric tons and might start operation in the next 12 to 18 months. according to him, 60,000 hectares of land is anticipated for clearing and 3.6 million bundles of cassava stem planting materials would be made available.
He said that 12,000 farmers of cassava will be targeted while 60,000 hectares of land will be planted with improved varieties. He added that rice milling quality is essential and that audit has already been done and upgrade of facilities will be carried out in April.
The minister emphatically observed that the poultry farm in Avutu, which has been abandoned since 1995, would be put ‘back to work,’ as he expressed his “readiness to work with the government of Imo State.”
In Governor Okorocha’s response to the Minister, he observed that, over the years, agriculture had remained in Abuja without spreading out to the States.
Governor Okorocha stated that 10,000 hectares of land had been “set aside in Arondiziogu” for farming. In addition to oil palm estate, the governor said the state will grow rubber trees.
To facilitate working with the federal ministry of agriculture, he said he would attach a liaison officer with the minister’s office. He said “Kosovo wants Imo State to bring food exports, wondering “if only we can start food production and package it well.
Edited version of a Vanguard publication.
PHOTO CREDIT: Government House, Owerri