Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has said that political appointees in his administration and state’s schools must own farms in line with the government’s “Back to Land For Agriculture” policy designed to boost the state economy.
According to him, there was no better option at the moment than to fully engage in agriculture.
Okorocha spoke when a group of traditional rulers from the state on the platform of Traditional Rulers in Agriculture visited him, recently.
He said that the state civil servants had also been encouraged to get deeply involved in the Back to Land for Agriculture Programme of the state government, while explaining that it was what the government intended to achieve when it came up with the policy that would enable Civil Servants in the state work in their offices from Monday to Wednesday of every week and use Thursday and Friday to farm.
The governor explained, “The idea of Traditional Rulers in Imo State coming together to spearhead the fight against recession through agriculture is most welcome. This is in tune with the Rescue Mission Policy statement of Back to Land for Agriculture which is aimed at boosting the agro-based sector of our economy and thank God, the traditional rulers are taking the initiative to the grassroots.
“The royal fathers as a body are in a better position to meet with the Minister for Agriculture and could access loan of upto N2 billion from the federal government for this purpose. What the government is emphasizing is that everybody must go back to the farms to which end the government has gazetted three days of work for Civil Servants while two days would be for agriculture. All government appointees, Civil Servants, schools must possess farms”.
According to the governor, “The ‘Ikuona nkwu’ project would be revisited by the Royal Fathers in Agriculture working together with the Community Government Councils (CGC) for synergy and unity of purpose. Agricultural groups like the clergy in Agriculture, Civil Servants in Agriculture, Youths in Agriculture, Women in Agriculture, Students in Agriculture etc, could be formed to boost the Back to Land Programme”.
The governor added, “I have approved the farmers’ market in the three zones of the state, Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe which you will build yourselves. A land collection committee will also be formed to see about the location of available farmlands around the state to be harvested for agriculture. You must do your road shows having agric tools to buttress our concern”.
Leader of the group, HRH Eze Chidume Okoro, had told the governor that they had ventured into agriculture as a group to show the people of the state in general and their respective subjects in particular that agriculture is the way to go at the moment, adding that they have acquired several hectares of lands in various parts of the state for farming and would like the governor to visit such areas.
Eze Okoro said that the only thing they could do to encourage the government in its Back to Land for Agriculture policy is to get deeply involved in farming and to also show good example to the indigenes of the state, stressing that if the government’s initiative pays off, the state will not only be boasting of food sufficiency but would also be talking about fat internally generated revenue.
The traditional ruler encouraged the state government to intensify the campaign on Back to Land for Agriculture so that all hands could be on deck.