OKOWA Showing The Way In Agriculture
By Charles Okogene
IT is not in doubt that God has blessed Delta State with oil and gas in commercial quantity; but if you are one of those still in doubt, you are free to consult Chevron or the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources for help. But beyond that, the crux of this piece is the good news that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the state is set to put the state on the map of exporter of palm oil and other palm produce producers. That he wants to bring back the good old days of palm produce farming which was almost at par with rubber plantation before the advent of crude oil and its petro-dollar.
Only on May 31 2018, he set the ball rolling with the distribution of palm seedlings nurtured at Ejeme Unor, a rural setting which is almost a walking distance to Nsukwa, the home of what would have been one of the biggest oil palm plantations, Oil Palm Company (OPC), to farmers; OPC (not that of Gani Adams) would have been on the same level with those in places like Malaysia if the then military administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, did not take it over then on the allegation that its owners, the late Brig. Samuel Ogbemudia and the late Dr. Issac Okonjo, used public funds to acquire it. The over 220, 000 palm seedlings he gave out on that day are to be planted in 1, 517 hectares of land. The ceremony was tagged ‘Flag Off Of The 2018 Small Holder Oil Palm Scheme.’
According to the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Chikezie, a total number of 550, 000 seedlings have been raised in the three nurseries in the state located at Ejeme-Unor, Oleh and Aragba Okpe adding that the farmers have also been supported financially by the Delta State government.
However, Okowa is not bothered about all that happened to the OPC and still happening. He has set his hands on the plough and he is not likely to look back until he gets to his destination; instead, he is committed to living up to his words that the state is set to export palm oil, which Malaysia, a country that was said to have sent its officials to Nigeria to pick palm seedlings and today, is the numero uno exporter of the essential product in the world. And if this is feat of exporting the agricultural product is achieved in two, three years’ time, Okowa would have succeeded in writing his name boldly in letters of gold in the history of the state, especially in its quest for Beyond Oil, programme, which was the initiative of the past administration of former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
He has also not forgotten the fact that one cannot live by palm oil alone. That is why, he has empowered and provided the teeming population of youths in the state under his through the Office of Job Creation with what it takes to go back to the land till it. Many of the youths are now into all types of farming viz: animal husbandry, fishing, poultry and food crop production so much that in no distance future, the state will become the food basket of the nation in addition to its current status as one of the country’s foreign exchange earner as an oil producing state.
Okowa is working and Deltans are noticing!
EDITO’S NOTE: This is strictly the opinion of the writer and not in any that of the paper and its management or the governor.