Abia flags off planting of 2mn oil palm seedlings

Abia State government says it has embarked on a campaign of reawakening the people’s consciousness to engage in agriculture and oil palm practice as a means of addressing the current economic realities in the state.

Uzor Azubuike, the commissioner for agriculture, who stated this while flagging off of the 2 million oil palm seedlings as part of the oil palm revolution in the state at Ahiaba Umueze autonomous community in Osisioma Local Government Area of the state, said about 8,000 hectares of land had been acquired by the government for oil palm revolution.

According to Azubuike, the target is to have the areas fully developed and thereafter pursue a programme he called community oil palm project.

The commissioner further explained that the project would be designed to avail communities who were desirous to change the aging wild species of palm fruits that were prevalent in Africa the opportunity to change and replant more and improved variety seedlings, adding that communities would be directly involved in the maintenance of the palm project and also take ownership of the farms without necessarily making plantation.

He disclosed that the revenue accruing from the venture would also go to the communities thereby creating wealth for such communities.

He however said the government would come in by a way of making private sector arrangements in the area of developing the value chain through which government would make profit through taxation and thereafter create employment opportunities for the people.

 The commissioner said the first phase of the programme when fully realised would be valued over N1 billion, where the state government would recoup funds to embark on the next stage.

The Abia agriculture boss however noted that the seedlings would not be given to communities free of charge because they might not plant the seedlings, as government would work with communities conscious of partnering it in the exercise.

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