Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has expressed the preparedness of his administration to provide the necessary support for the success of the pilot phase of the National Youth Farmers Scheme, for which the state has been selected to be participating in.
Ikpeazu made the promise while hosting Paul Ikonne, executive secretary and chief executive officer, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Tuesday, at Government House, Umuahia.
He noted that his administration had on assumption of office mainstreamed agriculture as an alternative source of income, as it provides industrial raw materials and capable of providing job opportunities.
He stated that he is determined to reducing rural-urban drift by making the rural areas more conducive and economically viable.
Describing agriculture as key for the survival of any society, Ikpeazu, regretted that if not for the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, his vision of establishing cottage industries in some parts of the state would have been realized.
He stated that his administration had placed orders and paid for machinery for the establishment of some cottage agro-industries from Tiny Tech Corporation of India, but the movement of the equipment was hampered by the advent of COVID-19.
He urged Ikonne to approach his new position from a multi-sectorial angle and look for a possible way of assisting in addressing the menace of soil and gulley erosion ravaging various parts of the state and requested a letter from the people of Ukwa West supporting the possible hand over of the Ogwe Golden Chicken Company to NALDA for resuscitation.
Ikpeazu described Paul Ikonne, as a worthy and proud son of Abia State, who has also served the people of the State in various capacities and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, for finding him worthy of such high elevation and expressed confidence that with his known passion for hard work, he was confident that the new executive secretary of NALDA, would deliver on his assignment.
Ikonne, who led a team from NALDA on the visit to Abia, stated that NALDA has been revived, by President Buhari, as a result of his passion to ensure food security across the country.
He stated that NALDA has designed some programmes, including “Back to Farm and National Young Farmers Scheme” to attract youths to farm with a view to creating jobs.
He announced that two processing centres, would be cited in the state, by the agency and expressed satisfaction that many communities in the state have started donating lands for various Agricultural value chains of the Federal Government.
He also informed the Governor that prominent indigenes of Ukwa West local government area (LGA), has approached his agency with a request to help resuscitate the Golden Chicken Farms at Ogwe and that once the State Government approves the request of the people, that NALDA will take further steps in that direction.