The Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, has flagged off the Training of 50,000 Abia farmers on Organic Agricultural Development Culture and Practice at Abia State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) headquarters, Umuahia.
Speaking at the event, the State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti expressed delight for the selection of Abia State as one of the 22 pilot States to participate in the first phase of the programme.
He said that the aim of the programme was to promote non-agro business and ensure food sufficiency in the State.
Governor Otti, who was represented by the State Director of Agriculture Services, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Obioma, stressed that effective agricultural practices would promote good health, generate employment and engender rural farmers participation.
While urging Abia farmers to make themselves available for the Training, the Governor revealed that the N2,000 fee that was expected to be paid by farmers who would participate in the Training has already been paid by his government.
Also speaking, the Commissioner For Agriculture, Prof. Monica Ironkwe, said that there was need to revert to organic agricultural culture and practice because of the damage that has been done to agriculture and soil through the use of inorganic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizer, pesticides and others.
Prof. Ironkwe who spoke through the Director Of Finance, ADP, Mrs. Edna Egbu noted that high cost of inorganic fertilizer, has made it almost unavoidable for small scale farmers to increase their cost of production. She maintained that time has come for a change to organic agriculture which according to her, produces nutrients that are non-toxic to the soil and guarantees the production of organic healthy food and rejuvenation of impoverished soil nutrients among other benefits.
The Director Federal Ministry Of Agriculture And Food Security For Abia State, Mr. Aloysius Chibuzor Mba, stated that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, was committed to organizing and managing the agricultural sector to facilitate agricultural business, increase food security and employment, commodity value chain and agro- industrial development in order to earn foreign exchange and contribute to socio-economic development. He maintained that Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has not relented in her mandate.
Earlier in her remarks, the Director-in-Charge, Abia ADP, Mrs Nnenna Uche Udumma, revealed that Abia State was lucky to be among the 22 pilot States selected across the country for the Training. She said that the selection was possible owing to the sincere effort of Governor Alex Otti in giving agriculture its pride of place in the State, as agriculture is one of the policies of his administration.
Mrs. Nnenna Uche further assured that ADP would continue to collaborate with relevant agricultural agencies and institutes to train Abia farmers in various fields of agriculture and the extension agents to continue technology transfer and technical support to farmers.
The Training programme which is being facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the International Organization for Good Leadership and Agricultural Development as well as Abia ADP, also featured other Speakers, such as the President of International Union of Soil Science and the representative of the Registrar, Nigerian Institute of Soil, National Coordinator FGN/IOGLAD/ADPS on Organic Agriculture Development and Culture/Pilot Programme, Nigeria, Traditional Rulers among other dignitaries.