By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu /Francis Onyeukwu
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra said on Friday that 60 per cent of the N3.5bn agriculture grant, secured from the CBN would be given to women farmers and entrepreneurs in the state.
Obiano made the disclosure at the opening of the 2019 Mothers’ Summit, held in Awka.
The theme of the summit was: “Gender Balance and Social Values.”
He said that women had capability to drive growth in the agricultural sector, which he said, was the pillar of his administration’s blueprint.
“When we came to power in 2014, rice production in Anambra State was about 80 metric tonnes. We have taken it to 345.280 metric tonnes as at today.
“Our projection is that it will hit 570, 665 metric tonnes when we hand over in 2021.
“Similarly, cassava production stood at 275,832 metric tonnes in 2015, now it stands at 1, 881,589 metric tonnes.
“Maize was at 5,300 metric tonnes but today it’s about 43, 521 metric tonnes.
“Meanwhile, we have taken vegetable production from 432 metric tonnes in 2015, to 142, 500 metric tonnes as at today.
“We have also taken yam production from 26, 000 metric tonnes to 43,350 metric tonnes.
“As you can see our agro-revolution is on and we know that giving women more responsibility in this area, will drive the desired progress.
“The CBN is giving us N3.5 billion that we are going to loan to farmers in the state, 60 per cent of the money will go to women.”
The governor promised to give more women an opportunity to play critical roles in transforming the state.
“Celebrating women means celebrating the rebirth of the society because they are the moral conscience of the society.
“This is why I have about six women as commissioners and four women as special advisers in my cabinet,” Obiano stated.
Also speaking, the governor’s wife, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, described women as nurturers, caregivers and nation builders.
She urged women to embrace creative and innovative entrepreneurship skills to achieve sustainable development within the family and communities.
She also pledged her commitment to empowering more indigent women, widows and vulnerable people in the state.
In her lecture, Prof. Carol Arinze-Umobi, said that women as helpmates were uniquely created and endowed with skills to impact positively on the family, community and country.
According to her, such skills can be extended to all facets of human endeavour, even in government if women are given the opportunity.
“Gender balance reduces inequality and improves public confidence in government institutions.
“Greater empowerment of women in leadership position would lead to positive developments in health, education and infrastructure, with potential long-term growth effects, “she said.
In her address, Mrs Ndidi Mezue, Commissioner, Women and Children Affairs, said the summit was a forum to discuss issues of common concern to women in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that awards were presented to some women who had recorded outstanding achievements in their careers.
There was march past by women from different local government areas and distribution of empowerment materials, including grinding machines to people drawn from various communities across the state.