The Ebonyi state government says it will survey and register all
farmlands in the state to stop the practice of government taking
lands of farmers without compensation.
Chief Dave Umahi, Governor of the state, said this in Abakaliki during
a colloquium for stakeholders on ways of moving the agricultural sector forward in the state.
“It is sad to see farmers lose their farmlands to government under
such circumstances, as the farmlands are usually their only sources of
income though government needs the lands to site industries and other
infrastructure, he said.
The governor suggested that people could form cooperative
societies, register their lands individually and aggregate them to be
used as collaterals to obtain loans.
Umahi added: “When this is implemented, each cooperative society should have about 50 hectares of land which when surveyed, would amount to its total shareholding in a cooperative arrangement.
The governor said that the government would ensure the stoppage of
planting three tones per hectare –yield in rice planting.
“We hope to commence this from next January, as we would ensure we
bring in rice species that would yield ‘seven tones-per hectre’ and more,” he said.
Umahi noted that he informed President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, that Ebonyi State could provide the rice needs of the country
with adequate incentives.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in the state, Mr
Uchenna Orji, said the governor convened the colloquium to enhance
agriculture in the state, especially in the area of rice production.
“The present economic reality in Nigeria has made states to use
agriculture to tap their hidden potentials in the face of steady fall
in oil prices,” Orji said.
He noted that he would ensure that no farmland in the state would lie
fallow, as the ministry would seek government’s approval and House
of Assembly legal backing to make local government areas and
development centers develop demonstration farms.
The Guest Lecturer at the colloquium, Prof. Martins Anikwe, in his
paper titled, ‘Ebonyi, Tapping the Huge Potentials and Incentives in
Rice Production’, said that the government could achieve its goals with
improved mechansation in rice production.
Goodwill messages were delivered at the occasion by agencies such as the CBN, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and officials of tertiary institutions with emphasis on agriculture.