From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Nanono says the Federal Government will commence its farm mechanisation revolution project in six months from now – September.
Nanono revealed this stressing that Agro Industrialization in Nigeria remains vital to economic viability.
He said the project is expected to reduce high unemployment rate, boost the economy, guarantee food security and advance the level of trade and investments in the agricultural sector as a veritable strategy to diversify the economy.
“This mechanization revolution is going to be kick started in 632 Local Government Areas in the next six months across the country and will be private sector driven,” the Minister said during the South – South Agro – Industrial Inspection and Town Hall Meeting held in Calabar, Cross River State.
According to him the ministry is committed to creating jobs, adding that the on-going review of agricultural policy is aimed at refocusing on technology and innovation.
He pointed out that the nation is on a sure footing towards an agricultural revolution as the government has concluded on a new mechanization strategy that would guarantee quantum leap in productivity.
In the spirit of the town hall interaction, Nanono called on individuals and groups to come up with proposals of how to increase the viability of the service centers, adding that the Federal Government will guarantee the facilities.
He assured on the success of the intervention, reminding all present about Nigeria’s strategic advantages: “we have a huge population and massive market which can be primed to achieve the goals and objectives of the mechanization policy.”
In a statement, by the ministry’s director of information, he applauded Ben Ayade, the Governor of Cross River State and his team for the efforts and investments made to trigger a Green Revolution in the state’s agricultural sector, noting that it is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agricultural policy thrust, geared towards job creation, food sufficiency and overall economic growth.
In his remarks, Ayade noted that under his watch as Governor, Cross River has made huge investments in the agricultural sector.
“This is witnessed in our establishment of multifarious agro-allied industries and our desire to make agriculture, rather than dependence on federal allocations, the mainstay of our economy.”
The Governor pointed out that “cocoa is one of the foremost cash crops with which Cross River state is abundantly blessed. Our productive capacity in this cash crop has placed us as the second highest producer of cocoa in Nigeria. And desiring not play second fiddle anymore ,we are resolved to commence a radical process that will galvanize our capacities and take us to the premier position in cocoa production in Nigeria within the next 24 months.”
He highlighted some of the giant strides of the state in the agricultural sector. They include; the Green Revolution also known as The G- Money Initiative, the Ojoja Rice Milling Factory, the Ikom Cocoa Processing Factory, not forgetting the Ayade Agro – Industrial Park, among others.
“I enjoin our youths to take advantage of this opportunity, and all Cross Riverians to join us in this crusade to create Green Millionaires.”
Also, in his welcome address, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Okon Owuna commended Nanono for the state’s selection as a Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) for the South – South Geo- Economic Zone.
He indicated that although the SAPZ would be located in Ikom and Ogoja Local Government Areas (LGA), the Project was so structured in a way that would trigger economic growth in other contiguous states.
Key among the agro-industrial investments inspected by the Minister was, the Ogoja Rice Milling Factory, the Ikom Cocoa Processing Factory. In Calabar, the Minister visited the Rice seedling factory, the poultry processing factory and the Garment factory all in the Ayade Industrial Park Complex.