Sen. Ayogu Eze, the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State, says it is most incomprehensible how agriculture has been neglected over the years by the government in Enugu State.
Eze told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja that it was even more amazing, given the fact Enugu State possessed some of the richest soils for farming in Nigeria.
“I find it truly amazing when we are told that the state government lacks funds to implement its programmes, given that we are sitting right in the midst of money,’’ he said.
“Look around you, there is arable land across the length and breadth of this state.
“All that should be done is tap into that potential and the state would have laid the groundwork for a vibrant, agriculture-driven economy,’’ the governorship candidate said.
Eze said that Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area alone could be turned into the fulcrum of agricultural activity to make Enugu State one of the food baskets of the nation.
“There should be proper strategic planning so that agriculture can be turned into one of the highest revenue earners for Enugu State.
“We have developed a model that will guarantee the farmer a ready market for his produce.
“We will also focus on building rural road networks across the rural communities to open up these areas and provide them access to urban centres where they can sell their produce at very competitive prices,’’ he said.
According to him, `Enugu State produces the best quality rice (Adani rice) from Uzo-Uwani LGA.
“We will revive Adarice project by supporting rice farmers to go into mechanised farming and modernise the irrigation infrastructure.
“We also intend to make Enugu State a net supplier of quality rice throughout the country and ultimately export this produce to earn foreign revenue,’’ the governorship candidate said.
He said that if elected, he would ensure that the agriculture sector creates a minimum of 100,000 new jobs annually for the duration of his tenure.
“In this respect, we have a robust plan to engage youths in agriculture.
“Youths have a significant role to play in agriculture and, therefore, this will create job opportunities and contribute to sustainable developments across the state.
“To engage youths in agriculture can also help address food insecurity and contribute to improving the livelihood of the stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.
“Getting our youths gainfully employed in the agricultural sector will also significantly reduce their propensity to engage in anti-social activities, ‘’ Eze assured.