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The Imo State Government on Wednesday said it would generate over N40 billion annually from rubber and palm oil plantations it established in parts of the state.
Mr Udo Agoha, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri.
Agoha, however, said that the projected revenue from rubber and palm oil would be far less than what the state anticipated to generate from cassava and cashew crops.
``Imo State is the third largest national producer of cassava and the revenue potential in cassava alone is far above what it hopes to get from rubber and palm oil put together when our investment in cassava begins to yield returns.
``What is currently going on now is installation of plants for the processing of cassava at various locations and we hope to get more lucid idea of what the revenue potential of the state will be in this sector in few weeks time,’’ he said.
The commissioner told NAN that the government’s investment in agriculture was in-line with the diversification programme of the state in the bid to reposition its economy given the downturn of crude oil prices.
``Registration and enlightenment programmes are being conducted for potential farmers in the state to encourage them to embrace agriculture as not only wealth creation, but a veritable means for the provision of jobs.’’
He said that Gov. Rochas Okorocha-led administration believed that through these sources, his promise of providing employment opportunities to youths and women would be achieved.
The commissioner said that the state had keyed into other agricultural programmes of the Federal Government as well as opened discussion with banks for provision of credit facilities to farmers.
``Our focus is to change the mindset of our people from seeing agriculture as subsistence venture, but rather a genuine business that could offer life opportunities,’’ he said.
Agoha equally hinted of plans by the state to establish markets where surplus agricultural produce would be procured from farmers to curb wastages.
He said that food processing factories were being built by local and foreign investors who took part or were attracted during recent overseas economic tours sponsored by the state government. (NAN)