Agriculture is the No.1 pillar in His Excellency Governor Willie Obiano’s administration. Agreeably, it has very high potentials for empowerment and employment generation, food security and poverty reduction. On assumption of office, Governor Obiano unfolded a master strategy to transform the agricultural sector into a leading player in national and global food markets. The State Government has made remarkable achievements in the agricultural sector and can be summarized as follows.
02. Agriculture Blue Print
On assumption of office, he inaugurated a 14 man Agriculture Blue Print team to design a road map for developing agriculture in the State. The team headed by a renowned agronomist, Professor C.P.E. Omaliko produced the blue print which has mapped the state to determine which crops performs well in certain places and gave recommendations on the way forward. The activities executed in the sector are based on the development plan.
03. Two pronged Strategy
In order to achieve the desired result, two pronged approach were used by His Excellency. These include Public Private Partnerships (PPP) with large scale investors and offtakers and through the provision of support to small scale farmers.
04. Large Scale Commercial Farms
i. Cosched Farms
The State Government is partnering with Cosched Farms (a subsidiary of Coscharis Group) for Commercial rice processing at Anaku. The Expected output from the farm is 60,000MT with milling capacity of 150,000MT. The company has commenced operations and planted 500 hectares (HA) of rice farm. Currently the Cosched farms are using flat irrigation on over 1000 HA. Cocheds Farms Ltd is investing the sum of N50billion. A total of 2500HA of land was allocated to the farmer at Anaku and the investment is expected to create 2000 jobs / employment. The expected out-put is put at 60,000 MT of paddy with a capacity of 150,000 MT milling Machine.
ii. NOVTEC Farms Ltd
The State entered into partnership with NOVTEC Farms Ltd for the resuscitation of Anambra State Rice project at Omogho and Ndikelionwu. Operations have started and the company is currently installing sprinkler irrigation system at the site.
NOVTEC’s investment is worth $50,000,000 (Fifty Million Dollars) and cultivation rice on 450HA with over 300HA out grower model scheme.
iii. Lynden Integrated Farm
The PPP with Lynden Integrated Farms is for the development of a modern integrated poultry and production of high quality eggs and poultry meat in the state. Already, operations have commenced at Igbariam on the $61 million Us Dollar investments. Lynden ultra modern poultry investment is being developed on a 75HA land size and it is expected to provide over 1200 direct and indirect employment. Lyden farmers is investing the sum of N4.46billion (USD 61m). A total of 75HA of land was allocated to farm at Igbariam. The investment is expected to create about 1500 jobs / employment.
iv. DelFarms Ltd
This is a $200,000 PPP investment with Delfarms; a Songhai Model Farms of Benin Republic to establish an integrated organic farm in each of the three senatorial zones of the state. The company has commenced operations at Igbariam on about 398 HA land size as part of their 2000HA of approved allocation. Del Farms Ltd is investing the sum of N11billion. The investment is expected to create about 1000 jobs (Direct jobs 300 indirect jobs 700).
i. Joseph Agro Ltd
The ANSG/Joseph Agro Ltd is making a $150,000,000 (Hundred Million Dollar)PPP investment for the rehabilitation of Omor Rice Mill and Irrigated Rice production at Omor and Ufuma. The farm has expected output of 100,000MT and mill size of 120,000 MT. The land has been identified and development commenced. Joseph Agro Ltd is investing the sum of N33billion. The farm was allocated 380HA at Ufuma and the investment is expected to create 1500 jobs (500 direct and 1000 indirect jobs)
vi. Eckcel Farms Ltd.
This is a $100, 000,000 (One Hundred Millon Dollar) partnership investment for commercial cassava production and production/processing of tomatoes at Omasi. The expected output is 80,000MT. The ground breaking has been done at Omasi and work has commenced at the site. Eckcel Farms Ltd is investing the sum of N22billion (USD 100m). A total of 2,500HA of land has been allocated to the farm at Omasi. The investment is expected to create about 1500 jobs(Direct jobs 500 Indirect jobs 1000).
vii. Tricity Integrated Farms
This is an $11.4 million Dollar investment on a 5HA land size and the partnership arrangement is for the establishment of a modern semi-automated abattoir in Awka. This will be scaled up to three (one in each senatorial zone of the state). The ground breaking has been done and the company will soon commence construction works. The investment will fetch over 1100 direct and indirect employment. Tricity Integrated Farms is investing the sum of 11.1million USD. A total of 5ha of land was allocated to the farm at Amansea. The investment is expected to create about 750 employment (Direct jobs 300, Indirect jobs 450).
viii. Grains and Silos Ltd
This is a $23.5 million Dollar investment and the partnership arrangement is for the setting up of grains silos and malting plant with state. The company has started land clearing and will commence construction next.
This investment will fetch over 150 direct and indirect employment.
Silos and Grains Ltd is investing the sum of N5.2 billion. A total of 5 ha was allocated to the farm at Nkwellezeunaka and the investment is expected to create 1500 jobs/employment in the state.
ix. Staple Crop processing Zone
Anambra State was selected to benefit from the SCP2 to be established at Ayamelum LGA. The state has provided 250 hectares of land at Omor while arrangement is being made to provide a zonal office for the SCPZ at Awka. The State Ministry of Agriculture is also furthering discussions with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to kick state the project.
05. Land Acquisition
The state government inaugurated the Land Acquisition Committee to help cut the bottlenecks of acquiring large expanse of land for agriculture. The committee has succeeded in sourcing land for Eckcel Farms, Del farms, Joseph Agro, Lyden farms, Coscheds farms etc. as at today, 65,000 hectares of land are available for investors and small holder farmers.
In order to boost mechanization, the state government procured 10new tractors with full complement of implements. The State Government is also into partnership with Eforce Agro Development for the procurement and management of 100 tractors at Awkuzu Tractor Base. The tractors have been supplied and operations have commenced. Under this arrangement, 10,000hectares of farm land were prepared across the state during the last planting season.
07. Improving the Quality of Rice
The State Government has established one modern Rice Mill at Omor with a destoner in order to improve the quality of rice produced in the state to meet international standards. More mills will be established in the rice producing communities in the state.
08. Distribution of Anambra State Rice
In line with the agricultural revolution programme of the State Government and in tandem with the local content policy of His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, the State Ministry of Agriculture has commenced mass assembling of local rice for distribution to civil servants, public servants, pensioners and the less privileged as Christmas gift. The rice was destined, bagged and branded as “Anambra Rice”. The era of distribution of imported rice in the state is over, since the locally produced rice are more nutritious and has better aroma.
09. Sustainable off taking of Farm Produce
The State Ministry of Agriculture in furtherance of the state government’s initiative on the 21st Jan 2016 successfully landed its produce (Ugu and Onugbu) into Europe. This is a test run of 2.5MT to certify the conditioning centre and delivery of Anambra produce. The state has gone further to initiate training , Certification and networking interested off taker. Arrangements and understanding have been made with the logistic company ABX World Cargo& IFAOCM for their development of a conditioning centre for the preparation of the vegetables for export. This is also developed in partnership with Bosh produce, Eagle solution and Global Gap to export fruits and vegetable to European countries. The vegetable farmers are being trained on the right method of vegetable planting and use of organic fertilizer and pesticides. Certifications will be issued to successful farmers by Eagle Solutions Services Ltd of United Kingdom (UK). The state is also making further arrangements with other off takers ie. Grand Cereal Ltd, UK trade and investment team, Global Gap etc. for the off take of agricultural produce from the state.
10. Agric Fairs/Shows
The present administration has sustained agricultural shows to showcase agricultural produce from the state. The ministry has also in collaboration with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) organized Cassava Show and Training of farmers on confectioneries production with cassava. The winners of the 2015 Agric Show were presented with gifts such as a Tri-cycle Truck for the best farmer, motorcycle for the second and third best farmers and 10 wheel barrows as consolation prices.
11. Youth Empowerment in Agriculture
In pursuance of the State Government Youth Employment in Agriculture, the State has established Agricultural Training Centre at College of Agric Mgbakwu. The first batch of 250 youths has been trained in various productions of livestock. These youths would be empowered to develop agriculture skills. The Agric Training Centre will be established in 3 senatorial zones of the state.
12. Input Support to Small Scale Farmers
The State Government through the ministry of Agriculture is providing improved seeds, planting materials and fertilizers to farmers in the state free of charge. So far, cassava cuttings, maize and rice seeds have been distributed to farmers to improve the productivity of small scale farmers. Also, the state government is participating in World Bank Sponsored Fadama Project, IFAD Assisted, RUFIN, IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Project and Islamic Dev. Bank Sponsored National programme for food Security (NPFS). These projects also provide input support to small scale farmers.
13. Revalidation of Co-operatives
The Ministry of Agriculture is re-validating the agricultural co-operatives. This is to ensure that only genuine ones benefit from inputs support of government. This will also scale up operations and analysis of yields and output. So far, 1,025 co-operatives have been validated, bringing the number of registered farmers in the state to 12,000.
14. Agro Control Centre
The Ministry of Agriculture has established Agro Control Centre with full internet facilities and equipment. This is achieved by the full support of His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano .The application/Platform (FIMS) Farmer information management system was developed going by international commodity exchange requirement which includes the traceability and mapping the farms into the platform. The platform will hold farmers Database of farmers and help for easy reporting and analysis of activities of the farmers activity. This is to enable the ministry receive information and farmers complaints for rapid response from experts in the ministry. Farmers can now channel their complaints via SMS to 08103524975.
15. Soil, Plant and Water Lab.-1st of its kind in the country.
Soil, plant and water laboratory has been established in the ministry’s headquarters. The laboratory is for testing of soil plant and water. This is very important in agriculture for analyzing the soil, plant and water.