By Kalu Kalu, Umuahia
The government of Abia State, South East Nigeria, is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CSS Integrated Farms, an arrangement that would see the Nasarawa State-based farm train farmers from Abia State.
Governor of Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti, announced this while on an official visit to CSS Farms, owned by a former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Prof John Kennedy Opara.
The Governor, who was encouraged by the large-scale mechanised farming going on at the CSS farm told his host that he would immediately direct the Commissioner for Agriculture in Abia State and the Special Adviser to meet with him with a view to entering into an agreement with the management team of the Farm.
“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.
“I shall send two persons, Prof. Monica Ironkwe, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Dr. Cliff Agbaeze, the Special Adviser on Agriculture, immediately I leave here to come and meet with you, and shall remain here until an MOU is established,” Governor Otti declared.
The Governor also stated that Abia State, South East Nigeria is highly blessed in the area of agriculture and if the state had taken advantage of this natural endowment, it would have been competing favourably with countries like Malaysia, Indonesia amongst others.
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 ten years ago, 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 be rest assured 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 state and you should also think of bringing such establishment home to Abia,” the Governor added.
Prof. Opara thanked Governor 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.