Expert recommends mechanised agriculture for nation’s economic growth

 An agricultural expert, Mr Austin Nnodim, has recommended mechanised agriculture in the country, saying it has a great potential to propel rapid economic growth.
Nnodim, who is the Managing Director of Ezelukwu Ventures Nigeria Limited, an agro-based firm, said this on Tuesday during an interactive session with newsmen in Owerri.

He said that his firm, in partnership with JustCorn Agricultural Development Services, a U.S.-based firm, had acquired 21,000 hectares of land in various parts of the South-East for massive agricultural venture.
According to him, Ezelukwu Ventures has a projection to employ 2,000 Nigerian youths in its first year of operation and 6,000 after three years.

Nnodim expressed the optimism that youths, who engaged in crimes, could be effectivly deployed in mechanised farming as a means of tackling insecurity.
He said: “The firm will go into full scale production of cassava, maize, soyabean and other cash crops.
“The end products can be used to produce biofuel, animal feed, drugs and beverages.
“We have entered into agreement with host communities, such as Umulolo and Agbaobu in Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo for the land we acquired in the area for farming.

“As a people, we must be able to address the yearnings of our teeming youths through job creation as a way of curbing rising insecurity in the country.
“When we succeed in the projected employment of 2,000 youths per year, we would have gone a long way to alleviate poverty, reduce crime and insecurity.”
Nnodim, however, identified poor government policies and unavailability of relevant infrastructure as some of the challenges impeding business development in the country.

He therefore called on government at all levels to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He also called on well-meaning Nigerians, who are interested in agricultural revolution through mechanised farming, to partner with the firm to ensure the realisation of its vision. (NAN)