Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has assured the people of Ebonyi will soon hit fame and fortune as the state’s agricultural revolution gets all the help the federal government can give.
“You are famous for rice production, but you are going to be more famous when we bring our programme for implementation,” Ogbeh said Monday during the flag-off of One Man One Hectare, a policy of the Gov. David Umahi administration.
Speaking at the Abakaliki Township Stadium where thousands of women and youths gathered to witness the grand finale of the event, Ogbeh pledged federal government’s support to the initiative.
“We are going to bring machinery here, including harvesters and threshers. We hope that before we round up, there will be a major industrial starch plant in this state. We also believe that we will let you have some cassava flour processing plants, especially for cassava and fufu,” he said.
The minister also said a new cash crop, cashew, will be introduced to Ebonyi because the demand for cashew nut is high on the international market now,
“We shall make sure you get the best rice seed, especially the F.44. It is about the highest national standard we have because in Nigeria today, there are over 70 varieties of rice. And we cannot grow all.”
He explained that there was hunger in the country today because Nigerians had been lazy in the past by focussing on oil and importation of everything, including toothpicks.
He encouraged civil servants, politicians and others going into agriculture to take it as a business.
Ogbeh, who in company of Umahi, later gave out a symbolic cheque to one of the beneficiaries of the state’s youth and women empowerment programme, told the youth that the governor had, by his actions, “handed over the key to prosperity” to them.
In his opening remark, Umahi explained that the agricultural programme was aimed at ensuring food security for the state and the country.
He said his administration had procured, among others, 40 tractors, distributed farm seedlings and gotten soft loans for genuine farmers in the state.
The occasion began by planting of palm trees at Ezzilo Farm, and a symbolic Tree of Peace at Ishielu LGA headquarters to commemorate the peace deal between Ezzilo and Ezza Ezzilo.
Apart from Ogbeh, there were other government officials that graced the occasion, including Minister of Health Prof Isaac Adawele, and others.