· Gov Otti (R) with Prof Opara: Striving to make Abia self-sufficient in agriculture
THE Abia State Government is set to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CSS Integrated Farms, an arrangement that would see the Nasarawa State-based farm train Abia farmers.
Abia State Governor Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, made this known on Wednesday while on a working visit to CSS Farms, owned by a former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Prof John Kennedy Opara.
The governor, encouraged by the large-scale mechanized farming going on at CSS, told his host that he would immediately direct the Commissioner for Agriculture and the Special Adviser to meet with him with a view to entering into an understanding with CSS Farms.
“First, I want to thank the Chairman of CSS Farms, my own brother, for his kind words. He stressed that when God blesses a man, He does so for you to become a blessing to others, and that is what the chairman is doing in Nigeria today.
“I can assure you without any fear of contradiction, that if it is for what the family will eat to survive, he doesn’t need to do this, but he is doing so to impact life.
Gov. Otti addressing his host
“I shall send two persons, Prof. Monica Ironkwe, Commissioner for Agriculture and Dr. Cliff Agbaeze, Special Adviser on Agriculture, running the agricultural ministry, immediately I leave here to come and meet with you, and shall remain here until a MOU is established,” Governor Otti declared.
According to the Governor, Abia is highly blessed in the area of agriculture and if the state had taken advantage of this natural endowment, she would have been competing with countries like Malaysia.
He recalled that Malaysia took its first set of palm seeds from Umudike in Abia State in the late 50s and it is today the world’s largest producer of palm oil.
“I had the privilege of visiting Malaysia 10 years ago, hosted by the then Commissioner, and they took me round and showed me over 120 different products made from palm.
“In Abia we have corn, cassava, yam, etc. Things like corn are seasonal, but in Lagos and some good farm places, even here, it’s not like that. So, for training, you can rest assure that we will train as many people as possible in Abia State. But beyond that, I need to press on so that we can sit down like this in Abia and you should also think of bringing such establishment home to Abia,” the governor said.
Prof. Opara thanked Gov Otti for the visit and commended him for how much he has done within a short space of time in his effort to rebuild Abia.
He described Dr. Otti as “a unique man”, extolling his resilience in the quest to assume the governorship seat of Abia State.