By Praise Necherem
Anambra state government has revealed its plans to provide assistance for farmers in the state to go into full scale cattle breeding with emphasis on breeding Igbo specie cow popularly known as Efi Igbo.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing and Export in Anambra state, Hon. Nnamdi Onukwuba, made the revelation during a visit to Eagle Food Processing Industries at Umuchu in Aguata local government area of the state.
He said the Obiano-led administration was ready to make livestock grazing a serious business, especially rearing of the Igbo specie. He added that government was already making plans to expand cattle grazing across the local government areas in the state.
Taking a holistic view of Eagle Food Processing Industries, Onukwuba praised the founder and managing director, Prince Ugochukwu Okpalaeke, for his efforts in achieving such giant feat in agriculture.
“I’m marveled to see that there is a farmer with hundreds of thousands of birds, palm produce processing factory and cattle among other things in his farm, coupled with hundreds of workers under his employment,” he said.
Responding, Prince Okpalaeke, who is also chairman of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) regretted acquisition of lands in the South East region by wealthy men for business as against the pressing needs of agricultural development.
He called on governors of the zone to provide farmers with strong aids capable of motivating them into the business of cattle breeding, particularly the Igbo specie cattle known as Efi Igbo.
He said, “Farmers are capable of breeding cattle but they are nowhere near what it takes to do the business in terms of facilities like land, manpower and funding. Rich men in virtually every place in Igbo land are acquiring lands for other businesses against the interest of all important agricultural development at this point in time.”
Acknowledging the bright chances of making a successful venture into cattle breeding in the Southeast in view of availability of grass and water, the Umuchu born multipurpose farmer with National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award, stressed the need for each of the South East states and local governments to encourage farmers to go into cattle breeding business.
He continued, “As a farmer, I can assure that it is possible to breed cattle in Igbo land but the problem is that we don’t have land.
“Those that have money among us are buying every space to build markets, business plazas, housing estates and petrol stations; and never showed interest in developing farm lands.”
Okpalaeke, founder of Osimirri Farm, Umunze, hinted that they have started breeding Efi Igbo with support of the state government.
By Praise Necherem