Under the present dispensation, Anambra is synonymous with agriculture. With Governor Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano, agriculture is the wisest pursuit of the state and Ndi Anambra. This is because it has contributed to real wealth, good morals and happiness.
Akpokuedike realized from the onset that the ultimate goal of farming is not just the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. Thus, he gave priority attention to the agric sector and constituted the Ugbo Azu Uno community, which has propelled the culture of subsistence farming among Ndi Anambra.
There is no doubt that after seven years of recording excellent results in Agriculture Ndi Anambra have become used to success. Suffice it to say that Obiano has not let his people down in agriculture and other sectors.
Governor Obiano was able to record unprecedented success in agriculture because he believes that the farm of the future must fulfill three important promises – it must feed the people, it must protect the environment and it must offer a healthy return on investment.
It is heartening that in seven years that Obiano steered the ship, rice production in Anambra has risen from a paltry 80,000 metric tons per annum in 2014 to 440,000 metric tons per annum in year 2020; likewise cassava production, which increased from 276,000 metric tons in 2014 to 2.1 million metric tons in 2020. Maize production rose from 16,000 metric tons in 2015 to 64,000 metric tons in 2020 and vegetable production increased from 48,000 metric tons in 2015 to 322,000 metric tons in 2020.
Land utilization also increased and stands at over 95, 200 hectares due to the influx of more people into agriculture. Today, Anambra has over 160,000 farmers and 3,000 Co-operative Societies duly registered. Most of our farmers have made a swift transition from one season farming to year-round farming with the increasing use of irrigation and the adoption of global best practices in agriculture.
Furthermore, when one looks at trends in our national economy, we see the need to give kudos to our proactive governor for his decision to make Agriculture the number one pillar of his economic blueprint. Agriculture is becoming increasingly important in Nigeria. Thus, Anambra must continue to push harder to surpass the targets it set for itself in the sector.
It is a thing of joy that Governor Obiano, in pursuit of this, has set his sights on deepening his efforts to mechanize agriculture in the state. The government has made adequate arrangements to provide more access to capital intensive farm machineries like tractors and other equipment to the farmers. This will enable Anambra meet its target of cultivating 35,000 hectares of land in this farming season.
To achieve this, the government has developed over 1,200 hectares of land for rice production; hoping to increase rice, Yam, Cassava, Vegetables and Maize production in this planting season. One thousand youths from three senatorial zones of the State are being engaged in rice production in the over one thousand, one hundred and seventy-seven hectares of land developed at Ndikelionwu in Orumba South.
The state government is equally constructing two fish villages at Adazi Nnukwu and Aguleri, with six hundred ponds, which will further engage six hundred youths, when completed, while also expanding production of horticultural crops, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, ginger and other vegetables to enable Anambra State become self-sufficient, among others.
It is commendable that Anambra, under Obiano, has established the fundamentals for a big agro-economy. It has created the enabling environment and attracted quality investments. However, it takes a determined citizenry to sustain a vision of development.
Therefore, Ndi Anambra should rise to the occasion by coming into agriculture in a much bigger way to help sustain the momentum Akpokuedike has built in this sector. His administration has proven its capacity to make things happen. Ndi Anambra, the rain is here; the ball is now in our court.
WRITTEN BY COMR. OBI OCHIJE