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Why Anambra Govt Launch Regenerative Agricultural System- Agric Commissioner



By Olisemeka Sony

The Anambra state commissioner for agriculture, Dr. Forster Ihejiofor, says the Professor Chukwuma Soludo-led state government is interested in promoting a new agricultural practice because of the immense benefits inherent in it.
He said the benefits included the fact of the practice being able to limit harm to the environment, maximise agricultural output as well as create wealth.

Ihejiofor disclosed this in his address during the flag-off of the 2022 farming season at the Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka on Wednesday. He added that the agriculture ministry, under his reign, had designed strategies for empowering Anambra citizens, especially women and youths, through regenerative agriculture (Regen-Ag) for the sustainable development of the state.
In the commissioner’s words, “Given its preeminence in the scheme of things, this administration has had to interrogate our agricultural methods and processes in order to guarantee sustainability, productivity, safety and eco-friendliness.”

Governor Chukwuma Soludo flanked by the Speaker Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Uche Okafor and Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Forster Ihejiofor during the flag off of 2022 Farming Season at Ekwueme Square, Awka

According to him, regenerative agriculture will help farmers in the state to cut down on the cost of inputs and enjoy, in a sustainable manner, high yield, with low-cost input. Going further, he said that “Starting from today, we will work with our farmers to systematically migrate from chemical-based conventional farming to regenerative biology-driven farming. For instance, cheap compost derived from domestic and bio-degradables replace high-cost fertilisers in regenerative agro-system. Available in this arena are some bags of compost at highly subsidised prices for immediate commencement of our journey in regenerative agriculture.

The commissioner disclosed that the state government planned to establish four mega-integrated composting centres in the four agricultural zones in the state to supply farmers with adequate quantities of compost and derivatives.
“These waste-to-wealth factories will not only convert bio-degradables to organic manure but also boast commercial mushroom production units as well as insect larva multiplication units for livestock feed and food.

Dr Forster Ihejiofor during his address.

“To drive the process, we have created a Sustainable Agriculture Task Team (SATT) to download and domesticate best regenerative agricultural practices for our environment. When fully implemented, Regen-Ag will drastically reduce the cost of farm inputs, thereby increasing the wealth of our farmers, while lowering the cost of food,” he added.

On the launch of the palm and coconut revolution by Governor Soludo, Ihejiofor urged Anambra state citizens to take advantage of the initiative, reminding them that “palm oil is, indeed, the true liquid gold of our time, not crude oil. I, therefore, call on our business community, especially Ndi Anambra, to come home and invest in it for speedy realisation of this aspect of the Soludo economic solution. Currently, 80 percent of our national consumption of coconut is met through importation. Nigeria can earn over $400 billion annually from the coconut value chain and our visionary governor aims at taking a big slice of this potential.

He listed the areas the state ministry of agriculture would focus on include, including infrastructural development in the fish, rice, cassava, and yam value chains; the introduction of appropriate and affordable technologies, including mechanised climbers, and harvesters, planters, drip irrigation systems, energy-free water pumps etc. The commissioner equally identified disruptive intervention in food processing along the lines of vegetables, cassava, yam etc. value chains; export processing and promotion platform that will integrate farmers and agro-businesses with the global network as other areas of priority for the ministry. “We will upgrade the ministry soil lab into a biotech laboratory to scientifically validate the nutritional health potentials of our local and neglected crops and vegetables,” he added.

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