Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra has said that the state government would invest over N4.1 billion to boost agriculture in the 2018 farming season.
Obiano made the disclosure at the inauguration of the 2018 farming season and distribution of farm inputs, cheques, motorcycles and some farm implements to farmers at Atani in Ogbaru Local Government Area.“We have finalized plans to invest N1.5 billion in land development, N2 billion in providing infrastructure and N600 million in procuring agricultural inputs and machinery this planting season,’’ the governor said.
According to him, this will enable the government meet its target of cultivating 25,000 hectares of land during the farming season.“Consequently, we plan to grow our cooperatives from 2,401 to 2,836 in 2018.The same projection applies to our rice production which we hope to increase from 345,000 to 440,000 metric tons this planting season.
We also plan to increase cassava production from 1,881,000 to 2,060,687 metric tons and maize from 43,521 to 55,000 metric tons.
We have also set targets for vegetables at 160,000 metric tons, yam at 70,000 metric tons and finally, fish at 55,000 metric tons,’’ he said.
Obiano said his administration had made adequate arrangements to provide more access to capital intensive farm machineries like tractors and other equipment to farmers.
The governor, who later declared the farming season open, pledged to maintain cordial relations with Donor Agencies through prompt payment of counterpart funds.
He noted that plans were also on to access the N3.5 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) facility for Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACs) and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, represented by Mr Nnamdi Ibezim, said the Federal Government was doing a lot to encourage farmers.
Ogbeh said CBN’s Anchor Borrowers, the Bank of Agriculture Recapitilisation and current plans to set up the Bank of Agriculture at the local government level for easy access of funds were part of the measures to boost agriculture.
He assured that the Nigerian Government would continue to partner state governments, especially in the area of policy alignment in the agriculture sector.
Also, the Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by Mr C.M. Sokari, expressed the readiness of the apex bank to partner state governments in the agricultural sector.
Mr. Afam Mbanefo, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, said the theme of the 2018 farming season was “Developing Modern Agriculture through Cluster Farming Sustainability’’.
Mbanefo also stated that various agricultural programmes and investors contributed over 25 per cent to the state targeted production for rice in 2016 and over 37 per cent in 2017.
He said the government had also developed a comprehensive four-year agricultural plan for different produce and farm types to achieve its target in the sector.
The state Programme Coordinator of Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), Mr Emmanuel Aguncha, noted that 1,001 farmers would benefit from the distribution of farm inputs in 2018.