Abia ready to partner FG on Agricultural Development - @GovernorIkpeazu

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has said that the State government is committed to aligning with the Federal Government on its Change Agenda to promote national programmes and policies on agricultural development.

Governor Ikpeazu, stated this on Thursday during the opening ceremony of the 43rd National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development conference holding in Umuahia, Abia State.

Dr Ikpeazu who was represented at the conference by his Deputy, Rt Hon Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, further stated that considering the emphasis the Federal Government is placing on attainment of food security, job creation and national productivity, the theme of this year's council meeting, "Consolidating the Strategies of Agricultural Promotion Policy for Economic Diversification and Growth" was apt.

Speaking further, the Governor emphasised the point that agriculture had the capacity to upscale socioeconomic development in Nigeria, and that it was pertinent for Nigerians to optimize its value and benefits.

In his own speech, Senator T. A. Orji, senator representing Abia Central at the Senate, expressed optimism that the deliberations of the council would make positive impacts on the nation.

He enjoined council to come up with policies that could be implemented to put an end to herders/farmers clashes.

On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the Federal Government was committed to making the country an agriculture export hub.

The minister who was represented by Dr Mohammed Bello of the ministry, said the federal government had resolved "to increase agricultural productivity, reduce food importation and implement programmes that promote food safety and security.

"We shared this agenda with the stakeholders of the National Council on Agriculture at the 41st meeting held in Kano in 2016.

"It led to the articulation of the 2016 - 2020 Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) and its Investment Financing and Implementation Plan (IFIP)".

Chief Ogbeh described agriculture as a significant sector in Nigeria "because of its contribution to food production and overall development of the nation's economy".

He then urged the council to see the need for it to focus on providing a policy direction that would yield improved enabling environment for investors, attainment of food security and sustain livelihood in Nigeria.

Charging stakeholders to recommit themselves to the development of the agriculture sector, the minister reminded them that it was key to good health and wealth creation.

"We are to align interests, identify interventions, rank alternatives and fine tune strategies.

"We also need to pool resources, execute projects, ascertain impact and ensure continuity. At the end, our synergy will help us achieve food sufficiency, enterprise promotion, productive employment and wealth creation in the country", he concluded.

On his part, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, called on participants to discuss as well as evolve best policies and programmes on agriculture from various perspectives.

Adamu who was represented by Mrs Christy Odua of the ministry said that the Ministry of Water Resources would continually collaborate with the ministry of agriculture and rural development to promote food sufficiency.

He expressed hope that the outcome of the council meeting would make a positive impact on the socioeconomic growth of the country.

Others who also spoke in the same vein at the opening ceremony of the event were Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, represented by Mr Azeez Muyiwa, and Mr Suffyan Koroma, Country Representative of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, in Nigeria.

Culled from: The Abia Info.

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