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Anambra’s ascent as food-producing state

By Ifeanyi Afuba

 

SIR: In March 2014, freshman Governor, Willie Obiano was obsessed with agriculture. Six years on in 2020, Obiano is still obsessed with agriculture. The sustained passion has brought Anambra from the rear of agriculturally rated states to the front row of Nigeria’s food producing States.

The transition has been systematic. Drawing from the Smithian theory of producing in one’s area of comparative advantage, the Obiano administration has focused on selected farming types suited to the State’s environment and soil condition.

In coverage and capacity, Anambra State has in the past six years witnessed intense activities in rice, cassava, maize, tomatoes and vegetable cultivation. The agricultural revolution has also recorded strides in fishery and animal husbandry.

Through increased funding of the sector, MOUs with reputable firms and incentives to small holder farmers, the rice production story changed from 244,235 metric tons in 2016 to 445,000 metric tons in early 2019.

Cassava output shot from a mere 15, 324 metric tons in 2014 to 1, 236, 409 metric tons at the end of 2018.

Maize registered a modest increase from 39, 902 metric tons in 2015 to 43, 521 tons in 2018 but with projected harvest of 63, 255 metric tons for 2019.

Read Also: Obiano teaches youths on business principles

 

The new emphasis on fishery is seen in the creation of a Fisheries & Aquaculture Business Development Agency by the State Government. In 2016, 300 youths were trained in fish value – chain processes. 100 candidates were trained in 2017/2018 with another 100 trainees benefitting in 2019.

Presently, the Anambra State government is in loose partnership with Vita Feeds for the production of starter feeds at affordable prices and with Grand Cereals Limited which currently generates 2, 500 tons of fish feed monthly.

With the commissioning Lynden Poultry Farm on July 28, 2018, Anambra State is now to be reckoned with in dairy farming. Set on 75 hectares of land, the highly automated facility presently yields about a million chicks annually. Efforts are on to sustain the breakthrough in rearing of efi Igbo with the Ministry of Agriculture still extending invitation for private sector partnership.

Governor Willie Obiano in December 2019 threw dry season farming into the bargain. Improved cassava stems were released to farmers in Anambra West and Ogbaru local government areas for take – off of the programme.  The ambitious push for double cycle planting season will be supported with the Lower Anambra River, Omor and Ifite – Ogwari irrigation systems.

The vegetable plantations have been expanding, encouraged in part, by the foreign market their quality has attracted. PDP candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar’s testimonial is succinct to merit the last words here: “The pumpkin leaves the state [Anambra] export to United Kingdom is very rich. I was in Britain recently and the people like it a lot. No doubt, Anambra has decided to take her share of $35.4b Africa spends importing food and it is good for the economy.”

 

  • Ifeanyi Afuba, Awka, Anambra State.

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