Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has that the state was willing and prepared to enter into productive partnership with development partners especially in the area of agriculture. Ikpeazu said this while receiving in audience a delegation of the World Bank Funded Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement & Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project led by National Procurement Specialist, Engr. Abdulgafar Kayode who visited him.
The governor in a statement assured his guests that the state would do everything within its powers including payment of second tranche of counterpart fund to ensure the project succeeded in Abia. Ikpeazu, who said the project was in line with his administration’s agricultural policy stressed that agriculture remained the key for sustainable development. He informed the delegation that he was establishing Agro-based Cottage Industries in all the 17 local government areas in the State commencing with seven pilot local government areas, saying that the move would reduce ruralurban drift in the state and improve the economy as agriculture had been known to provide jobs and raw materials for industries.
The governor said machines for the seven pilot LGAs procured from the TinyTech Corporation of India had already arrived the state, disclosing that the state government had already established Abia State Marketing and Quality Control Agency which would ensure standardization of agricultural products produced in the state. Meanwhile, Abia Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Ikechi Mgboji added that the state was ready for the project and willing to do the needful as they had shown the team the office provided for it and vehicles made available for it as well as taken them to poultry cluster, farm settlements among others.
Earlier, leader of the delegation and National Procurement Specialist of APPELIS project, Engr. Abdulgafar Kayode said the team was in the state to ascertain the readiness of the state in participating in the special agricultural project and to finalize discussions in that regard. Kayode said the team was happy with what the governor was doing, adding that since the program was equally in line with the governor’s policy thrust, he would authorize the payment of the second tranche of the Counterpart Fund.