The Executive Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, has revealed that his administration is prioritising agriculture for food production, employment creation and revenue generation, especially in palm produce, rice production, cassava and vegetables amongst others.
Governor Ikpeazu who was represented by his Deputy, Hon. Ude Ogochukwu, at the just concluded 43rd National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) held in his state said Abia State Government will continue to collaborate with Federal Government and partners in the continuous payment of counterpart funds for the development of Agriculture sector and diversification of the economy.
He commended the Minister, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other stakeholders for chosen Abia State to host 43rd NCARD.
Governor Ikpeazu said that the theme of the Council ‘’Consolidating the Strategies of the Agricultural Promotion Policy for Economic Diversification and Growth’’ is remarkable and timely because of the need to exit mono-economy.
He said that the Council’s responsibility is to assess the effect of extant policies and strategies, and fine-tune the existing initiatives for the attainment of food security in the country.
He commended the efforts of federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for creating enabling environment for farmers through the reduction of interest rate to a single digit to farmers, the privatization of Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and the Anchor Borrowers Scheme driven by Central Bank of Nigeria.
Speaking also, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh charged the Council to articulate and provide policy direction that would improve enabling environment for investors in Agriculture sector and strengthen the development of the sector to ensure food security, diversification of the economy, employment generation and sustain livelihood in the country.
Giving his keynote address at the opening ceremony in Umuahia, Abia State Ogbeh said that he witnessed and appreciated the commitment and resilience of Agriculture stakeholders in value chain development towards achieving food security, employment generation and wealth creation in the country, adding that the dedication encourages the government to step up its efforts of facilitating infrastructure and incentives for increased private investment in the economy.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar said that the theme of the Council ‘’Consolidating the Strategies of the Agricultural Promotion Policy for Economic Diversification and Growth’’ is to transform this administration’s Change Agenda into Mr. President’s Next Level Mantra.
Ogbeh recalled that the stakeholders of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) at the 41st Meeting held in Kano in 2016 led to the articulation of 2016 – 2020 Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) and its Investment Financing and Implementation Plan (IFIP).
He maintained that his engagements and commitments of the stakeholders in the four years of this administration show that (NCARD) has all it takes to move Agriculture sector to the Next Level.
The Minister, in the light of collaborations, acknowledged the steady support of the Abia State Government in the implementation of policies, programs and projects of Federal Government States and other Stakeholders in the public and private settings, assured them collective responsibility of promoting trade and investment in Agriculture across the states of the Federation.