ABIA STATE GOVERNOR EMPHASIZES IMPORTANCE OF FOOD
The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okozie Ikpeazu has reemphasized the importance of food for human existence, family living, national unity and global peace. The Governor made this remark while speaking at the celebration of the 2019 World Food Day held at the Women Development Centre, Ogurube layout Umuahia, recently.
The governor who was represented by his Deputy, Honourable Ude Okochukwu noted that people who are deprived of food tend to be very violent attributing most conflicts in the world to hunger, poverty and malnutrition.He commended the efforts of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), for pursuing a world food order that would prevent food wastage and create a world where there is no hunger.
Governor Ikpeazu disclosed that to curb food shortage in the state,government had encouraged food production through different agricultural programmes which include: provision of improved cassava varieties for Abia farmers, production and distribution of 4million Tenera under Community Based Oil Palm Project, establishment of pilot Oyster Mushroom project, commissioning of modern automated Rice processing mill in Acha in Isuikwuato Local Government Area and construction of poultry cluster in the 3 geopolitical zones of the state. He added that his administration will continue to engage the private sector and other development partners to explore invented windows inthe agriculture sector.
In his own address, the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Chris Ezem represented by the Permanent Secretary Exco Secretariat, Elder OchuO Ochu noted that the major problem of the third world countries today is hunger, hence the need to talk about zero hunger and diet.
The SSG disclosed that Abia State is doing a lot to reduce hunger saying that the governor has established several institutions to fight the menace in the state and has declared emergency in the agricultural sector.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Vice Chancellor, Abia State University, Uturu; Prof. Uche Ikonne explained that many factors are militating against adequate food production. These, according to him, include climate change, the persistent incursion of Fulani herdsmen on farm lands and the country’s land tenure system.
Dr Ikonne stressed the need to have a target to mitigate lack or inadequate food production explaining that the government of Abia has taken several proactive measures to maintain adequate food production in the state.He commended the efforts of the Bank of Agriculture for granting loans to Abia farmers stressing that there are funds available in the bank for those who wish to go into agriculture.
In his own speech, the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture Honourable Okey Igwe explained that agriculture is very important stressing that before the discovery of oil in the country Nigeria was an agrarian society but missed the mark when she discovered oil.He pointed out that there are lots of limitless potentials in agriculture, adding that the House of Assembly needs to come up with an enabling law to improve Agriculture and food production in the state.
In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Abia State, Barrister Mrs. Uzoamaka Ikonne opined that the purpose of the World Food Day by the United Nations is to sensitize the whole world on the dangers posed by hunger and malnutrition, just as it aims to heighten public awareness on the problem of hunger in the world.
She reiterated that concerns should not be limited to food production but also ensure availability of food that can supply basic nutrients like carbohydrate, fats, protein and oil needed for healthy living; at the rate the masses can afford. The Permanent Secretary eulogized Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for laying a good foundation, through the ministry of agriculture, to end hunger in the state.