By Tony Eri
The Anambra State Government, through its Ministry of Agriculture, has kicked-started the distribution of 670,000 oil palm and coconut seedlings to at least 134,000 families across the state.
The distribution of oil palm and coconut seedlings across 21 local government council area in the state commenced at Anaocha and Idemili North respectively.
While the people of Anaocha will receive 28,500 oil palm seedlings and 7,500 coconut seedlings, Idemili North households will receive 6,000 coconut seedlings and 18,000 oil palm seedlings.
The oil palm and coconut seedlings will serve 7,600 families in Anaocha and 4,800 families in Idemili North.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Foster Ihejiofor, said that the era of fossil fuels is coming to an end and sadly, Nigeria is not generating enough revenue from them.
According to the Commissioner, the circumstance makes novel solutions imperative, to ensure that Anambra’s economy is sustainable.
He explained that this prompted Governor Soludo to embrace the oil palm and coconut seedlings, as M.I. Okpara did in the 1960s.
Commissioner Ihejiofor stressed that Governor Soludo has created a socio-economic model for ndi Anambra through the distribution of coconut and oil palm seedlings, which he explained, has the potential to generate 160 billion naira in wealth in the state.
Dr. Ihejiofor revealed that whereas Nigeria was widely recognized for selling oil palm seedlings to Malaysia in the 1960s, the country is now importing coconut from West Africa.
He pointed out that beneficiaries of the seedlings would begin to harvest after two years because it is a unique Malaysian hybrid, noting that every household that receives five seedlings will be lifted out of poverty within the next 4 to 5 years and that beneficiaries’ spending capacity will improve, thereby resulting in money trickling back to the government through Value Added Tax.
Speaking earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu said that the distribution will turn Anambra youths and women into millionaires.
Reflecting on Governor Soludo’s accomplishments within one year, Dr. Obiogbolu stated that the Governor wants to ensure that the dividends of good governance reaches every household across the state.
He disclosed that the ward steering committee, which includes the councillors, party chairmen, youth leaders, women leaders, PGs, and village heads, should distribute seedlings to each family and ensure that those who receive them are the less privileged.
The Special Adviser also stated that each household’s voter card will be utilized as identification, and charged ward councilors with providing data on every individual who receives the seedlings.
On their parts, the Transition Committee Chairmen for Anaocha and Idemili North, Hon. Gerald Ozo and Hon. Brown Ezeoba respectively lauded the Governor for empowering ndi Anambra through agriculture, promising that the seedlings would reach the grassroots.
Agric Desk and Extension Officers, Anaocha and Idemili North President-Generals, Ward Councilors, APGA LG Party Chairmen, among others attended the event.