By Stanley Nwako
GOVERNOR Willie Obiano yesterday flagged off a new farming in the state, making it the fifth time such ceremonies were held under his watch.
The event which took place at Atani Central School, Ogbaru, showcased many agricultural products being produced by all the 21 council areas in the State, which each mounted its special exhibition stand.
Held under the theme “Developing Modern Agriculture through Cluster Farming Sustainability” Gov. Obiano said that this year’s farming season would focus more mechanised agriculture to encourage the production of “Target-Crops for backward integration and stimulate agro- business and investment in the sector.”
“I believe that the farm of the future must fulfill. It must feed the people, it must protect the environment and it must offer a healthy return on investment. Cluster Farming is a tool for bringing farmers who share a common focus area together to ensure that they benefit from inputs like group marketing, access to finance, and economics of scale. Therefore, it is a tool t,” he said.
Gov. Obiano also said that 3000 farmers were duly registered to bring the number from 106,000 in 2016 to 109, 137 farmers in the outgone planting season.
He explained that the agricultural sector in the State recorded an increase in the number of cooperatives from 2285 in 2016 to 2401 in the 2017 planting season. Rice production rose from 244,235 metric tons in 2016 to 345,000 metric tons in 2017.
“It is in pursuit of this that we have set our sights on deepening our efforts to mechanize agriculture in the state. We have made adequate arrangements to provide more access to capital intensive farm machineries like tractors and other equipment to our farmers,” he said.
Speaking in a goodwill message, Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh represented by Regional Director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Nnamdi Ibezim, thanked Obiano for the cordial relationship he has created between the Federal Government and Anambra State, charged him to continue encouraging the farmers in the State.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation Processing and Export, Afam Mbanefo said that the giant strides in agricultural productivity will be improved through farm cluster development, empowerment, building of best practices extension officers and farmers in good agromatic practices.
Earlier in his welcome address, Transition Committee Chairman of Ogbaru Local Government, Arinze Awogu thanked the governor for his massive performance in agricultural sector not only to the people of Ogbaru but Anambra as a whole.
In his vote of thank, Special Adviser on Gov. Obiano on Farm Implementation and Mechanisation, Paul Nwosu, expressed his happiness for a great success recorded in the community in the area of agriculture, said that the people of the area will forever remain grateful.
The event featured disbursement of inputs, unveiling of “Agric Mobile App and Market Information System Platform” presentation of motorcycles, cheques and ID cards to farmers in the state.