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Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has described agriculture as a viable tool that can end the unemployment challenge of the country by creating jobs for the army of unemployed, put food on the tables of Nigerians and cause rapid economic development.
The Governor stated this when the Development Financial Director, of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) represented by the Deputy Director, Ambusa Umaru led a delegation to Government House, Umuahia.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who stressed that agriculture as one of the pillars of his administration is taking very seriously, also state that the state is interested in poultry, and oil palm though with comparative advantage on cassava, noting that “everything can grow and flourish in this environment “.
According to him participants of the agricultural initiative schemes must be made to know that “Agriculture challenges, first of all, you must be committed to your crop, so as to be said to be in love with your crop.
“I think we can do capacity building from here as state government because if you give money to unprepared persons, be ready to lose the money “, he noted.
“I see five steps clearly -I see the inputs which government can handle, the products, export which can contribute to the Nigerian economy, ad hoc chain value addition technical committee and the table”.
He noted that the Government should also think of value addition chains as against a particular product and expressed the readiness of the state to partner with the federal government to come with a new culture entirely away from the usual thoughts to achieve maximum results.
Speaking, Umaru said the visit is to foster collaboration between Abia and Central Bank of Nigeria to improve agriculture production and create jobs in the Nigeria value chain and economy.
The Accelerated Agricultural Programme is a sub unit chain of the anchor borrowers programme which ensures that small farmers have an improvement in finances.
According to him: “10, 000 youths from the state are expected to enjoy the scheme but must be aged 18-35.
“The essence he said is to ensure that food security, and job creation is achieved.
“The beneficiaries must have a Bank Verification Number to be eligible and must be a member of a cooperative society.
“Also no beneficiary of any similar programme of a Federal government will enjoy this initiative as it is meant for fresh youths.”
Umar commended the Governor for all his supports to CBN, Umuahia, noting that Abia has been involved in development programmes of the CBN.
Abia is the off taker of the programme, because of its comparative advantage in Agriculture especially cassava production apart from its Small and Medium Scale Enterprises drive.
To begin the programme, Umar said the state will provide the land to ensure infrastructure is provided and each beneficiary will have 1-3 hectares maximum with each cluster having a management team made up of Chairman and supervisory counselor.
Also to enjoy the 1.5 billion loan of the federal government, the state must have at least 1000 off takers with a loan tenure of between 18 months to five years.