BusinessDay

Enugu PDP guber candidate, Mbah, promises to create 1.2m jobs from Agriculture

The Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate (PDP) in Enugu State, Peter Mbah has assured the people of the state of his willingness to create over 1.2 million jobs with the abundant agricultural potential the state is naturally endowed with.

Mbah made the pledge during an interactive section with members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Enugu State Chapter, in Enugu recently.

He said his plan was to transform the agricultural sector from subsistence farming to mechanised farming where agro-allied industry would lead to the creation of different businesses.

He said if voted, his team’s objective in the agricultural sector would be to establish special agro-allied processing zones across the three senatorial districts in Enugu.

According to him, “We are also going to deploy technology, not just migrating from manual to mechanised agriculture, but also migrating from pipeline to platform means in intervening in the agricultural sector.”

He further pointed out that it was because basically technology is taking over the space and his team would have to do a quantum leap and be in front and make sure that the farmers are ICT literate to be able to use the technology to enhance and scale up their production.

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“We know that if we can add an additional hectare of farmland to the level of farming we are doing now, we would have created four employments. It is one hectare, four people. Our plan is to have 100,000 hectares of farmland in each senatorial zone. That would amount to 400,000 jobs in each zone and 1.2 million jobs generated from agriculture alone across the state.

“We intend to do that by designating these areas as special economic zones so that the friction that the commercial farmers would ordinarily have with the communities would be avoided by such designation. We will work with the State House of Assembly to harmonise the land tenure system so that we can plot them depending on the size of what investors want to do,” he said.

He reiterated his commitment to move agriculture from the manual and pipeline method of cultivation to platform and technology based agro-allied industries where there would be value chain in production.

Such that would create processing, packaging, storage facilities and infrastructure that would facilitate transportation of farm produce to the market.

To change the narrative and style of doing things particularly in the agricultural sector, Mbah said: “Our administration would embark on aggressive investment drive to create employment and ensure exponential economic growth.”

According to him, “Our job as a government is to enable the environment for investment and that could be by several ways. Because the only business we have as a government in Enugu State is to make the state the preferred destination for investment, we are interested in de-risking investment flow. It could be by going into partnership with the prospective investors. It could be by making sure we undertake to provide some parts of that investment such as infrastructure.

“Our plan is also to ensure that as we are bringing in these investors, we are also aggressively training our youths; which is why we talk about skills acquisition centres; technical and vocational training centres and practical skills that are relevant to this ecosystem of investors and industries that we are going to be experiencing here in Enugu State.”