By Emmanuel Ugwu
Abia state government is still engaged in efforts to secure N1 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in order to boost agriculture, which is one of the pillars of its developmental policy.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Godwin Adindu made this known yesterday while briefing journalists on the high points of the administration of Okezie Ikpeazu in the last 300 days, stating that the governor has remained consistent both in service and performance.
He said that the agricultural loan being sourced would be used to give real meaning to the agricultural revolution policy of the Ikpeazu administration, which is already gathering steam.
“This loan will be disbursed purely to genuine farmers and not for political patronage,” he said.
The governor’s spokesman said that government has indeed given serious attention to the agric sector and has launched the return to farming and women in fish farming initiative to create employment and boost food production.
He explained that “the initiative was aimed at empowering the youths and women by setting up farming cooperatives which will help drive key government policy a regards agriculture”, adding that government would make land, finance and training accessible to farmers.
Adindu noted that the overall objective of the agric revolution policy of Abia government was to make agriculture a major “support base” of the state economy as government aims to make the economy less dependent on oil money from federal allocation.
He also said that the state has adopted a new approach to rural development with the formation of the Abia State Rural Infrastructure Development Initiative (ASTRIDE) aimed at providing at least one project in each of the 184 INEC wards across the 17 local governments.
Already ASTRIDE committees have been set up and they are required to choose for their areas the type of project needed from the list of government projects thereby closing the gap in infrastructural development in the rural areas.