The Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha said that development of the agro economy will be one of the major programmes of the Rescue Mission in the next four years.
Governor Okorocha made this known when members of the State Chapter of Poultry Association of Nigeria and stakeholders on the livestock industry paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House Owerri.
The State governor revealed that when elected for the 2nd tenure in office, his administration will build agro-based industries as well as provide incentives to encourage participation in agriculture in order to create employment and wealth for the people of the State.
He maintained that the agricultural sector if developed, has the capacity to generate about 75% jobs for the teaming unemployed youths as well as address the problem of poverty and hunger in the nation.
The governor further assured farmers that government will provide the needed market for their products to save them from losses. He therefore directed that a joint committee of the Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Community Government Council be set up to quickly buy off the excess eggs from the poultry farmers to encourage them produce more.
Earlier, the State Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Hon. Innocent Ahanenye said their visit was to relate to government some of the challenges besetting the poultry industry especially in the areas of accessing loans and marketing of poultry products.
Hon. Ahanenye noted that the Association has about 8,760 registered members across the 27 LGAs of the State and has provided employment opportunities for the youths who could start a small scale farm with capital as low as N50,000 to N100,000.
He commended Governor Okorocha for the massive road infrastructure which he said has facilitated movement of farm products to the needed markets. The group appealed to the State government to rescue poultry farmers from losses arising from the bird flu panic by buying their excess eggs and keep their business afloat.
Contributing, the Chairman, Veterinary Medicine Association, Dr. Rowland Ariri stressed the need for employment of more Veterinarians to assist in controlling the spread of poultry diseases.He equally appealed to government to develop livestock markets to provide a commerce base for poultry products in the State, while assuring the group’s readiness to partner with government.