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Food security: Group to embark on massive integrated agricultural project

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By Taiye Agbaje

The Odinala Cultural Heritage Foundation, otherwise known as OCHIE Igbo, has resolved to embark on massive integrated agricultural project to ensure food security in the south-east region and Nigeria at large.

The foundation’s National Publicity Secretary, Caleb Onwe, made this known on Monday in a statement in Abuja.

Onwe said that “the strategic outlay on food security by OCHIE Igbo will put the south-east as a food exporting region in ten years to come.”

He said as part of the effort to realising the project, the OCHIE Igbo had entered into partnership with the Federal Government to boost oil palm plantation development in the region.

The partnership, he said, followed the granting of the group’s request by the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), an institute of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development.

He said a letter to OCHIE Igbo titled: “Re: Request For Partnership” and signed by Mrs Saidat Ziregbe, on behalf of the acting Executive Director/CEO, NIFOR, conveyed the approval for partnership.

Onwe said Ziregbe, in the letter, wrote: “I am directed to refer to your letter with Ref. No. OCHIEIgbo/NIFOR/LV/001, dated 26th of January, 2024, on the above subject matter and to convey the Ag. Executive Director/CEO’s approval to partner with us as requested.

“Your intention to reduce crime and criminality amongst youths in the southeast by embarking on massive oil palm plantation development is not a misplaced priority and it is a lofty ideal.

“The Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Benin City, has high yielding oil palm Tenera breed with annual fresh fruit bunch (ffb) of between 25 to 30 tons per hectare.

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“This will go a long way not only in addressing crime rate but also improve on the economic status of the southeast region in terms of farmers’ livelihood and revenue accruing to the state government.”

Onwe said the institute reiterated its readiness to partner and provide technical support to OCHIE Igbo foundation in terms of training the youths on oil palm best management practices for maximum yield and other tree crops desired.

He said NIFOR pledged to supply the group with one million oil palm seedlings in phases if the intended numbers to plant at a particular phase is communicated to them on time.

He said the Institute, however, told the group that a little fee would be charged for its training, hinting that it had an oil palm training manual at an affordable price.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAA) reports that OCHIE Igbo is a socio-cultural organisation which comprises of young Igbo professionals from across the world, who focus on the protection and projection of south-east socio-economic interests and the advancement of its people in the Nigerian project.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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