Augustine Agwulonu

Imo State government has urged traditional rulers, Local Government Chairmen and Town Union leaders to make land available for commercial Agriculture. This was made known during a bilateral discussion between stakeholders of communities in the State and the Finance Development team from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon.  Emma Nwaogu, disclosed that CBN has provided leverage through the intervention of Governor Emeka lhedioha to make Imo a commercial agro park in Nigeria. He therefore called on traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the communities to key into the vision.
He noted that while the CBN has consented to support the State develop in commercial quantity four major agro products, namely, oil palm, cassava, rice and fisheries, land was needed to develop and expand the activities. Chief Nwaogu maintained that if lands that were hitherto left to lie fallow and grow into forests were volunteered for massive agric. development, the state would achieve food sufficiency and become economically viable.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agricultural Development, Mr. Uche Odozor, and the Senior Special Assistant on Commercial Agriculture and Coordinator Anchor Borrowers Programme, Prince Victor Mbalewe took turns to educate the stakeholders on the need to embrace the window of opportunity provided by the Apex Bank.
They maintained that the Commercial Agriculture proposed by the State government with funding from CBN, would have a multiplier effect on the economy, lives of Imo citizens and future of Imo youths. Mr. Odozor noted that CBN has agreed to bear the cost of clearing and unlocking of lands made available for use and assured that the programme has the capacity to engage over ten thousand Imo youths in various areas of Agriculture value chain.
The leader of the delegation from the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Special Adviser to CBN Governor on Development Finance, Mr. Tony Ifechukwu, said CBN was willing to support the state government to expand on four major agro products where the state has comparative advantage. These are: palm oil, cassava, fishery and rice. He further said that the Apex bank will equally sponsor agric. training programs for youths in the State as well as provide access to funds for their enterprise, and appealed to community leaders to key into the vision of creating wealth through Agriculture.

Responding, the Chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM Eze Samuel Ohiri lauded the programme initiated by Governor Emeka lhedioha and assured the CBN team of their support to ensure the success of the initiative.

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