BY KALU EZIYI, Umuahia
World Bank funded Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) has arrived Abia State to ascertain the administration’s level of preparedness to participate in the programme.
The leader of the delegation and a national procurement specialist, Engr. Abdulgafar Kayode stated this when they paid Governor Okezie Ikpeazu a courtesy visit at the Government House, Umuahia, the capital.
Explaining that the visit would also afford them the opportunity to finalise the modalities for the programme with the administration, he commended the state for being the first in the country to pay its counterpart fund for it.
Kayode, who said they were happy with what the administration was going in agriculture as part of its policy trusts, added that the programme will go along way to assist it in achieving the objectives of the policy sooner than latter.
In his response, Ikpeazu said the programme like many such others by the bank is in line with the administration’s agricultural policy, maintaining that agriculture will remain one of the keys for sustainable development of the state.
He used the forum to announced that the administration was establishing agro-based cottage industries across the 17 local government areas in the state commencing with seven for the pilot scheme to reduce rural-urban drift.
Noting that the administration was investing massively in agriculture to improve the economy of the state, provide job opportunities, and industrial raw materials, he assured of its readiness to pay the second tranche of the fund.
Similarly, the commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Ikechi Mgboji said the delegation had been shown an office accommodation and vehicles the administration had made available for the programme for it to succeed.
Adding that the delegation had also been taken to the state poultry cluster and farm settlements among others, the commissioner expressed the hope that with the level of preparedness, the state has qualified for the programme.
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