Governor Umahi in agricultural sector

This piece dwells on the unprecedented achievements of Governor David Nweze Umahi of Ebonyi State in the agricultural sector since assumed office, GODWIN EKOYO writes.
The "one man, one hectare" agricultural policy launched by  Governor Umahi in his first tenure has helped to revolutionized agriculture in the state. His Excellency's administration has frequently encouraged the people to venture into farming through provision of grants, agricultural inputs, high breed grains, mechanized farming equipment and soft loans among other sundry assistance.

In his inaugural Speech after been sworn in,on May 29,2015, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State Engr. David Nweze Umahi (FNSE, FNATE) vividly identified the development of agricultural sector as a panacea for economic diversification, job creation, food security, self reliance, self sufficiency, wealth creation and industrialization.

He mapped out the principles that would govern the development of agriculture as follows: Mechanization, Commercialization and  Professionalization .The idea is to have a state where no land is allowed to lay fallow, to engage all public office holders, civil servants, youths and indeed all farmers in agricultural mechanization, so as to ultimately make Ebonyi a leading state in Agriculture.
In actualizing the potentials of Ebonyi State in agriculture, the Governor developed a road map and sectoral strategies in line with the PDP manifesto which focus shall be the development of Agriculture as a business. The strategies adopted were:
1. To focus on commercial agriculture, production and to develop value chain in areas that have comparative advantages.
2. To sign up Private Public partnership (PPP) with local and international Private sector firms as well as development partners that have track records in agriculture transformation.

** Government will facilitate the securing of farmlands from communities and undertake land preparation, so as to encourage massive farming. 
** Government will facilitate the establishment of processing facilities in the local arras to ensure that agricultural farm output are processed at least as semi-finished goods.
Government will facilitate small holders farmers into cooperative and assist them to establish small-scale and cottage industries and encourage them with 

(a) high yielding seeds, seedlings and fertilizer

(b) access to credit facilities, available under various agricultural finance scheme

(c) Hire of farm equipment and machinery

(d) attachment to major producers to serve as off-takers to their products 

(e) provision of agricultural extension services and allied services 

(f) Increase funding for integrated rural development programmes among others.


Before the present administration came on board, there was a disconnect between the farmers and government, and as such, government was perceived by farmers as giving political patronage to relatives of government functionaries. There was a problem of identifying the real farmers and differentiating between subsistence and commercial farmers.

Government needed to be in the same page with the stakeholders and indeed the farmers on the crops with comparative advantage to Ebonyi state and on the agricultural agenda of the present administration.

Government convoked a colloquium, where the stakeholders brain stormed on the way to go and the intentions of government in agriculture. The achievements under this are as follows:

1. Convoking of first ever colloquium where the agenda of the government on agricultural programmes and far reaching decisions were taken. 

2. Setting up a platform in EBBC to sensitize the farmers on the programmes of government

3. Formation of forum of cooperative societies to mobilize small holder farmers into cooperative societies

4. Training of farmers and youths on the use of farm machinery/implements
5. Training of 100 youths on fishery and snailry production for which they were given starter packs to take off

6. Training of youths on agricultural mechanization.


1.Securing of about 54,000 hectares of rice farms across the 13 LGAs 

2. Clearing and development of about 292 hectares of land in Ebonyi State University Permanent site

3. Development of 5 hectares in the Government House

4. Planting of 1,600 palm seedlings alone EBSU permanent site perimeter fence

5. Planting up of Government House farm with plantain, coconut, pineapples, citrus, pawpaw and other vegetables 

6. Development of 5 hectares of farm in the Nkaliki hatchery and poultry farm complex

7. Installation of irrigation facilities in the Government House farm and EBSU permanent site farmland

8. Documentation of over 300 cooperative societies.


1. Engagement of government owned 5 metric tonnes per hour rice mills into full scale production for which over 250,000 of 5kg was produced in December 2015 as part of Christmas  welfare package of His Excellency the Executive Governor

2. Production of bran, reject, broken rice for feed formulation In the Nkaliki farm
3. Installation of 8 metric tonnes per hour capacity parboiling machine and boilers in the Ikwo rice mill and work is ongoing in Iboko and Oso Edda rice mills.


1.UNIDO Rice Mill rehabilitated and handed over to private millers at encouraging price on a staggered payment arrangement.

2.  Procured 3units of 3 MT/H additional Rice mills to be delivered and installed in selected Local Government Areas in each of the zone.

3.Procured additional 4 nos. 2T/H Rice parboiling plants.

4.Installation of 80T/Day parboiling plant at the existing 3 Modern Rice Mills at 80% completion.

5.The three (3) existing modern Mega Rice Mills are now optimally operating due to availability of paddy rice (Raw material). This is the dividend of the rice production revolution.

6.Procured 2 Nos. false bottoms parboiling plant and distributed to rice processors for demonstration.


1.About 75 farmers profiled for dry season rice farming across the state.

2. 93.4 hectares developed across the state for rice cultivation with the help of the newly procured Bulldozers.

3.Ploughed and harrowed a total of 65 hectares of farmland at Uburu, Ezzamgbo, Amaegu-enyin, Amokwe Ishiagu for dry season rice farming for 2016/2017.

4.Installed 2 Nos Solar Energy (power) pumps at Uburu and Amaegu-enyim for dry season farming with 1320M reticulation to irrigate the farming.

5.Procured 9 Nos water pumps to  irrigate the farm for dry season rice farming.

6.The dry season rice farming (pilot scheme) at the designated location are in progress.


1. Clamp down on the scourge of Avian Influenza in parts of Ebonyi State 

2. Construction and stocking of 4 compartment fish pond with overhead tank and sinking of borehole as source of water at Nkaliki Integrated Poultry farm with 40000 fish which will mature before ending of May, 2016.

3. Reactivation of the 5metric tonne/hour capacity feed mill in Nkaliki hatchery for full commercial production of feeds

4. Stocking of one of the pepsin in the Nkaliki Hatchery and poultry farm complex with 1060 broiler, which will be ready for sale by 15th May 2016

5. Construction of four compartment fish pond and preparation of farmland in the the Nkaliki hatchery to grow maize for feed formulation


 1. Oil palm Nursery Complex at Ezzamgbo that was in comatose was revitalized.
 2.Procured and planted 127,500 sprouted nuts from NIFOR (Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research) Ibadan and shall be matured by June/July 2017 for transplanting.

3.It is expected that development and establishment of oil palm seedlings shall be biannual to enable the state to be enlisted as Oil Palm Producing State.


1. Procured and distributed 150 metric tons of best varieties of cassava cuttings (TMS 305572 or Vitamin A for flour production and TMS 305506 for starch production) to the profiled farmers in the 13 L.G.A' s, under the one-man, one-hectare program in 2016.

2. Cultivation of about 100 hectares of land at Oshiri Cattle Ranch and planting up with Vitamin A cassava.

3. Also over 26 ha in the integrated poultry farm Nkaliki and CAS farmlands has been planted up with improved cassava cuttings sourced from IITA (International institute for Tropical Agriculture Ibadan).


Three (3) Nos. 5 MT/day flour milling plant and one (1) No. 5 MT/day cassava starch plant has been procured to create market and enhance value chain approach of the government. This will be installed in each senatorial zone viz: Ishielu, Ohaukwu, Ohaozara and Onicha LGAs.


1.Distribution of 20 new tractors to the 13 LGAs

2. Total of 2275 number of various farm machinery/implements were distributed to the 13 LGAs including planters, transplanters, winnowers, rice reapers etc

3. Government procured 13 bulldozers in readiness for mechanized agricultural production 

4. Procurement of additional 40 new tractors with full implements for farm mechanization


This is the first of its kind. Phase 1 is done in the following  schools: 

1. Government Technical College Abakaliki.......Ebonyi North 

2. Government Technical College Afikpo............Ebonyi South

3. Girls Technical College Agba...........................Ebonyi Central


1. Government procured and distributed 60 0bags of fertilizer under the full supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the 2015,2016,2017,2018,2019 farming seasons.
2. Rehabilitation and engagement of Ebonyi State fertilizer and chemical blending plant into  full scale production.
3. Procurement of improved variety of rice seed and agrochemicals for commercial production rice.


1. Government sponsored the trip of three man delegation, namely:  The Speaker EBHA, Commissioner for finance and Commissioner for agriculture and Natural Resources to China and another  7 man delegation to Thailand to negotiate on how to source machinery and to understudy the practice of rice production for enhanced productivity.
2. Government has paid the counterpart funding of IFAD and FADAMA 111 additional financing

3. IFAD has been extended to five LGAs as  against three LGAs previously being engaged in IFAD programme. Ishielu and Ohaozara were the new LGAs added to Izzi, Ikwo and Afikpo south LGAs 

4. IFAD approved a total of 20km farm roads at Izzi, Ikwo and Afikpo south LGAs
5. IFAD is preparing a  200 hectare farm at Ezzillo for irrigation farming.


1. The Ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cedar for establishment of ultra modern tomato plant, first of its kind in Nigeria

2. Establishment of a demonstration farm for tomato production by Cedar at Government House farm and the defunct ADC permanent site at Nwokpor

3. Completed negotiation with Catri International for the management of the Nkaliki hatchery and poultry farm complex

The Ministry in it's zeal to promote the state through Agriculture also organized a special summit of stakeholders on rice production which was chaired by His Excellency, Engr. David Nweze Umahi on the 3rd of May 2016, Where more revelations about project the project were unfolded. Among the decisions reached were

1. Approval of one billion naira loan to commercial rice farmers 

2. Approval of one hundred million naira loan to Ebonyi rice world to mop up all paddy within the state for milling in the rice mills.

3. Reduction of the initial 10% interest loan granted to Ebonyi State Chemical and Fertilizer  blending plant to one digit interest rate as well as other agricultural loans of the state 

4. Approval for the appointment of a  Special Assistant to His Excellency on rice production to show his commitment to the project

5. Government has earlier secured N2b naira commercial agric credit scheme (CACS) from CBN for the state agric businesses.

Mr Godwin Ekoyo wrote from Abakalki, Ebonyi State Capital.

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