Friday, 11 July 2014

How could Gov. Obiano achieve Mechanise Farming?

Okechukwu Onuegbu

In the four wheels of development programmes of the Anambra State Government headed by Chief Willie Obiano, Agriculture appears to be on the priority list. Also in the programme are Idustrialization, Oil and Gas, Trade and Commerce. The governor had vowed to boost the state agricultural sector through mechanized farming. As a result, he encouraged farmers in the state to register with the new agricultural cooperative society in the state with a view to be accessible to his administration whenever the need arises.   
In line with the governor’s commitment to agricultural development, Chief Obiano had pledged to disburse loans to rural farmers through Bank of Agriculture, distribute seedlings, fertilizers, tractors, fingerlings, among other needful.
Marking one hundred days in office recently, the governor reassured: "In agriculture, we have started a revolution that will increase food sufficiency and create massive employment. In partnership with the Coscharis Group, we have commissioned the Coched Farms Project to produce 120,000 metric tons of rice per annum and generate 1,000 jobs for our youths.”
In a similar vein, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Nnamdi Mekoh, maintained that about 5000 youths were to be trained and empowered in all key areas of agricultural sector within the next few months at three basic centers across the three senatorial zones of the state, but noted that Anambra state College of Agriculture, Mgbakwu would serve as a kick-off point.
“The skilled acquisition would focus on poultry, fish farming, animal farming, crops production, food production, processing and marketing of agricultural products…  at the end of the training, the state government would provide take-off grants, capital, seedlings, fingerings and other logistics to the trainees. The government has also purchased over 100 tractors, fertilizers, hybrid-seeds in quantum for wealth creation and entrepreneurship via agriculture, massive food production and exportation, and heaven for foreign and local investors”, Mekoh said.
On how to make Anambra major fish producer and exporter in Africa, the Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Fisheries, Mr. Emeka Iloghalu, said the incumbent administration has enormous plans for fisheries and aquaculture generally. He noted that the state government has set-up stakeholders’ forum of Anambra state fish farmers; inaugurated and mobilized them to action towards realization of this dream.  
Well said, analysts believed. However, they itemized certain things to be computed for effective and efficiency implementation, execution and monitoring so as to yield positive result.
An Agricultural expert and social affairs commentator, Mr. Livinus Nnebedum advocated for inclusion of Agricultural extension agents in the project. He said: “We commend the government for picking interest in mechanized farming. This is very good for our dear country. It would help to diversify our economy, increase our GDP, set more foods on our tables, multiply our income and create more jobs…And as you know, is not achievable without government intervention. Therefore, I employ our governor and his cabinet to recruit, mobilize and equip agricultural experts with necessary modern technological equipment to reach-out and educate the targeted farmers at the nooks and crannies of the state.”
Noting that some of the experienced extension agents presently work in the state Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture Development Programme, Awka, Mr. Nnebedum, further reiterated the needs for technocrats to be involved in operation and maintenance of the tractors the government intended to distribute for efficiency service delivery.
However, another Social Affairs Commentator, Mr. Polycarp Onwubiko posited that mechanized farming may not be achievable without provision of social infrastructures in the rural communities.
To Onwubiko, portable tap-borne water, good road network, electricity, school and others would forestall rural to urban migration, decongest overpopulation in the cities and encourage both the young and the old to go into farming having been empowered to access and market agricultural inputs and outputs.
Hence, he enjoined governor Obiano to shun sycophancy and propaganda, and to rather call for a meeting of agricultural technocrats with a view to requesting for their blueprints on possible ways of actualizing mechanized farming.



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