Abia partners investors to revive rubber, cashew, cocoa plantations
The Abia State Government says it is partnering private investors to revitalise the rubber and cocoa plantations at Amaeke and Abam communities and the moribund cashew plantation, all in Umunneochi Local Council of the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Charles Agbara, disclosed this during the flag off of the training of the second batch of Extension Workers in the state, tagged: “Extension Tools, Methodologies and Selected Agricultural Value Chains,” organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Federal Department Agricultural Extension, in collaboration with the National Agricultural and Research Liaison Services and Sasakawa-Africa Association.
The Chief Resource Person, Prof. Ike Nwachukwu said the aim of the training was to expose the 40 beneficiaries drawn from the 17 council areas to the rudiments of extension service and practical aspect of agricultural system, for them to extend the knowledge acquired to rural farmers to make use of the improved cassava stems and seedlings, as well as other techniques that can improve food production and nutrition in the state.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Muhammad Abubakar Mahmood, represented by Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Odunze said the trainees would be empowered with 30 litres’ of agro chemical and knapsack sprayers.
He added that the training, extended to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, is one of the strategies of the ministry to halt the drift in the extension system that declined due to decrease in funding, policy changes, reduced man-power and lack of interest of young people in agricultural entrepreneurship.
According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe, the drive to revitalise the extension services in the country is to help farmers and value chain actors to make effective use of productive forces and advances in ICT to improve the livelihoods of the rural population, create jobs and promote sustainable agricultural and socio-economic development of the country, stressing that the only way to achieve this is by re-positioning the ADP system through training, provision of equipment and tools and funding to carry out their primary mandate and responsibilities to farmers.