Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Consolidating the Gains of our Agro-Revolution : Full Text of Obiano's Speech at the Flagoff of 2016 Farming Season in Anambra State

 
 

Being the Text of an Address Presented by the Governor of Anambra Sate, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano to Flag off the 2016 Farming Season on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.

 

 

Protocol:

 

 

Ndi b’anyi, two years ago, when we lit the fire of Agricultural Revolution in Anambra State, we had nothing but our dreams. Today, standing before you on this podium, I am proud to declare that Anambra State has become the first state in Nigeria to export farm produce to Europe. We have large industrial farms that have taken our local rice production to over 190,000 metric tons and now we have flooded the local markets with Anambra Rice. We have created hundreds of direct and indirect jobs and started the production of wheat in commercial quantity in Anambra State.

Ndi b’anyi, we are making steady progress that will eventually drive home the point that Agriculture is the neglected corner stone of the Nigerian economy. We are extracting enough values to justify our decision to make Agriculture the number one pillar of my Economic Blueprint. Indeed, from May 15, 2014 when we made the call to arms in Agriculture, we have given Ndi Anambra another reason to be proud of their beloved state. So, far we have attracted investments valued at $1.011bn from 7 companies to the agricultural sector alone in the past two years.

It is re-assuring to see that our people are beginning to take heed our call. More people are joining the agricultural value chain and rice production has become big business in Anambra State. Apart from the huge investment in agriculture by Dr. Cosmas maduka’s Cochad Farms, our own Chief Akai Egwuonwu of Stine Industries has also made an impressive investment in rice production in Anambra State. In fact, Chief Egwuonwu’s brand of rice recently won an award at an African Products Forum in Lagos as the Best Rice in Africa in 2016. Egwuonwu’s rice was adjudged better and more wholesome than other competing brands from South Aftica, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia and Cameroun. That is the Spirit of Anambra! That is change at its best. That also is a fulfilment of one of the basic expectations of leadership – to shine the light so that the people will see the way.

 

By the grace of God, my Team and I shall continue to carve out new paths for the prosperity of Ndi Anambra. All hands must be on deck to stimulate growth in the local economy of Anambra State. At the moment, we produce about 190,000 metric tons of rice. Our target is to hit 210,000 metric tons by the end of the current farming season. Then, with the combined output we expect from our out-growers and cooperatives as well as the efforts of Coched Farms, Joseph Agro Ltd as well as the current milling output of 440 metric tons from Stine Industries Ltd, we hall soon surpass the annual figure of 320,000 metric tons of rice consumed in Anambra State. This target is already well within our sight.

Ndi Anambra, I am truly proud to say that our achievements in Agriculture since the last Farming Season are quite phenomenal. We have approved and successfully executed about N120m worth of Business Plans and empowered about 50,000 farmers through cooperatives. At the same time, in close partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), we have linked 3000 cooperatives to institutions offering credit facilities, built 15 kilometres of earth road, developed 2000 hectares of land and made improved varieties of seeds and access to modern irrigation schemes available to 58,000 farmers. In all, we successfully gave out about 100 metric tons of improved varieties of seeds to farmers in the last farming season. Similarly, we handed out 60 metric tons of Anambra Rice to all Civil Servants in the state between last December and January this year. Ndi olu ana enwelu anuli! Ndi b’anyi, oburo ka osi me?


This farming Season, we shall raise the bar of performance. The Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) will today pave the path to a brighter future for 15,000 people through the disbursement of the N1billion in its SME Retail Lending Programme. The sum is part of the N2bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund that my administration has accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria. Under the first phase of the programme which we launched last year, 45% of the N1 billion went to manufacturers, 34% to Agricultural value chains, 10% went to Services and 12% to Trade and Commerce. The first phase of the programmes was successfully completed in December last year with a resounding impact on our local economy; creating over 800 direct jobs and about 5000 indirect jobs. We are poised to surpass our achievements in the previous year. We shall restore hope to so many young men and women who have undergone training at the Agricultural Training School in Mgbakwu and the Technology Incubation Center in Nnewi. Fish production has also become a big business in Anambra State. A fish demonstration centre has been set up at the Agricultural Training School in Mgbakwu. All these will boost domestic growth, slash down unemployment rates and lay a solid foundation for a prosperous Anambra State!

To lend further depth to what we are doing in Agriculture, we have set up a Monitoring and Control Centre that is currently capturing the necessary data of all farmers and cooperatives in Anambra State. This will help us erase all problems associated with duplication of identity as well as ghost farmers. Similarly, we are also setting up an Agro Library which will archive important data like the history of land and boundary information with a view to checking the incidence of land disputes that might stand in the way of progress and development. I wish to use this opportunity to call on all traditional rulers in Anambra State to cooperate with this initiative by providing factual and objective information that will wipe away all prospects of conflict arising from land ownership in our beloved state.

Ndi Anambra this is how far we have come on our agricultural journey in the last two years. As some of us here may recall, when we flagged off our agricultural revolution in Anambra State in May 2014, we choose the theme - A New Dawn for Agriculture in Anambra State. Two years later, our theme is Consolidating the Gains of Agro-Revolution in Anambra State. This tells the story of the progress we have made so far.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is gratifying to see that we have almost achieved the objective of making Agriculture contribute at least 40% of the GDP of Anambra State. We have also not only put Anambra on the agricultural map of Nigeria but ensured that our beloved state is pioneering the export of agricultural produce to Europe. Indeed, umu nnem, we have every reason to be proud of our dear state. The future looks very bright and despite the present gloom in the nation’s economy, we are slowly Expanding the Frontiers of Excellence and laying a great foundation for a prosperous state.

Once again, put your hands together for Anambra State!


 God Bless Anambra State


 God bless Nigeria

 

Dalunu

 

Willie Obiano


 Governor

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