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The Resurrection of Agriculture: Averting food crisis in Imo State

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The Resurrection of Agriculture: Averting food crisis in Imo State

The miniset technique of seed yam multiplication is sine qua non for the availability of seed yams at affordable prices to farmers on a continuous basis especially our local varieties.

Early maturing and high yielding cassava species should be introduced and propagated at the different resurrected agro service centers, local government pilot plots and demonstration farms in school for distribution to farmers.

The market gardens project should be revisited and revamped as training grounds for farmers on short term basis in the state and local governments. Smooth cayan pineapples and dwarf plantain suckers should be distributed to farmers as well as citrus and fruits trees of early maturity.

Livestock production centered on stocks like rabbits, pigs, poultry, local sheep and goats adaptable to our environment and of minimal maintenance costs should be embarked upon and supplied to farmers at subsided rates to enhance the protein intake of the people.

The high fecundity and prolificacy of these animals commend them for rearing in suitable enclosures in our homes and institutions.

Why must we in Imo state prefer crops form outside the state and allow our local yams, cocoyam, tomatoes, pepper, melon, cucumber, groundnuts etc to be chased out of sight by crops from the Northern part of Nigeria. This is because we have refused to think and make use of our initiative and brains to farm.

Every establishment should as a matter of policy identify with the Agricultural resurrection programme through active participation.

It is possible to produce upland rice in some areas of the state. The dormant Ideato, Arondizuogu and Ihitte Uboma rice paddies should now attract attention and should be revamped.

The newly established Oil Palm estates of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority NALDA plots in Ngor Okpala, which is a near replica of Ada Palm should be opened up in more areas that need exploitation and intercropped with early maturing cassava and vegetables.

If the state of Israel can revolutionize Agriculture by harnessing the desert through hard work, nothing prevents us in Imo State from Making the best use of our short dry season to grow crops like tomatoes, cucumber, garden eggs, pepper, onions on a commercial scale through properly articulated short term irrigation method even around our homes with water from ubiquitous boreholes.

Those who live in high rising flats can grow vegetables in trays along the balcony as a necessary fillip to self sufficiency in food production as well as enhancing the aesthetic greenery of their surroundings reminiscent of the hanging Gardens of Babylon- one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Necessity now calls for a reorientation of our values and misconception over food production. Those who regard farming as a poor mans job and for whom soiling the hands is below their dignity infra dignitatem should change their minds.

Let us sustain and enhance our efforts, determination and zeal in growing food for our own consumption because the joy is unquantifiable.

There is need therefore for the government to order the mobilization of stray but idle labour force who in the day assemble to drink to stupor in St Bottles church to government farms. Students who parade the streets aimlessly during school hours should be drafted to the farms as well as professional touts at the parks, airports, licensing offices and examination centers.

Bi-weekly mass movement to the farms during the planting season by all citizens should be given executive attention like the monthly environmental clean up exercises.

The vegetable wastes from the clean up exercise should be recycled and harnessed for food production.
An expert look at the luxuriant growth of stray crops and trees at our refuse dumps laments seriously our national neglect to recycle our household refuse for the improvement of soil friability and flocculation to encourage food production.

All hands should be on deck no matter our social standing.

We can no longer continue to remain professional political congratulators and mendicants for crumbs and free goodies that fall from the masters table when we can use our brains to cultivate the soil for food.

The Resurrection of Agriculture as a programme for food production should be given attention for our own good.

Storage facilities should be provided in local government areas to avoid wastage of farm produce.
Farmers, communities, establishments and schools who have demonstrated proper methods of land utilization through good harvest, should be awarded certificates of recognition during field days.
Agricultural science teachers in schools should be encouraged to establish young farmers clubs to arouse in students interest in farming.

Schools should revisit methods of composting and organic manure production and equally embark on the establishment of manure banks with kitchen refuse, poultry and livestock droppings from students homes in the rural areas as was the case years past.

Food in abundance will give joy to Imo citizens at home and abroad.

May the Agricultural Resurrection Programme spill food over to neighbouring states and enhance our economic viability.

May the dream of yesterday be the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.

Sir. Andrew I. Ajaero (KSJI)
Public Affairs Commentator/Analyst
Onicha Nweorie Ezinihitte Mbaise
andrewajaero@yahoo.com
08037735697

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