The Imo state government has resolved to establish an Agriculture Park in the six local government areas in Imo North Senatorial District, in a bid to foster a development of the sector and ensure adequate food security.
This move was disclosed by Senator Benjamin Uwajimogu representing Imo North Senatorial District.
He stated that since the Federal Government has promised to accord agriculture a top priority, the Agriculture Park will definitely address unemployment, facilitate employment opportunities in various agricultural entreprises for youths and rural dwellers as well as improve the economy.
Speaking to newsmen after a tour of designated sites provided for the take-off, Uwajimogu also disclosed that the Agriculture Parks would be located in Izunomi, Ihitte-uboma, Nzerem/Ikpem, Ehime Mbano and Umuluwo-Owerri, and Onuimo Area Councils.
He added that the first phase of the agriculture intervention would include the immediate clearing of the over 1,000 hectares of farm land, creation of access roads to the farms, soil testing and treatments, digging of mud holes for fishery, construction of new dams for irrigation farming, as well as, resuscitation of non-functional dams, among others.
According to the Senator, “The priority of this government is in agriculture and basically to provide job opportunities and create food security, especially in this period of recession.
“Agriculture is the way out, we have to think less of the oil and focus our energy on agriculture.
“The importance of this agricultural park in this zone definitely cannot be overemphasized”.
He revealed that there would be provision of take-off loans, improved seedlings, fingerlings, pesticides and modern farm implements that can help cultivate large expanse of land, while also pledging to enhance the productivity of the farmers through training programs, as well as facilitate the installation of fish drying plants, oil mills and cassava processing plants.
The Senator also stated the intention of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture to site two “40 tonne capacity” rice mills in the Federal Constituency with the aim of enhancing production and creating a viable market for finished agricultural produce.
He then stressed the need to support government at all levels and private organisations with empowerment programs aimed at creating food sufficiency and employment opportunities through agriculture.
According to him, the ability for rural dwellers to engage in productive agricultural activities has great social and economic benefits for the economy of the zone.
He then concluded by saying that he is aiming to achieve an on-farm apprenticeship system where young people will receive practical, on-the-job agro business training, learn skills in areas which include agricultural tool-making, feed making, farming and gain experience in managing small-scale agricultural enterprises.