Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, says there is no RUGA settlement existing anywhere in Abia State.
The Commissioner made the clarification while interacting with some journalists at International Conference Centre Umuahia, during the flagging-off of 2019 Farming Season held in the State. According to the Commissioner “we do not have any RUGA settlement in Abia State and we do not intend to have RUGA settlements in Abia State. What we have are cattle markets such as the one at Lokpanta and Waterside Aba cattle market”. He said Abia State does not even have enough land for agriculture and other uses not to talk of ceding any part of the state for cattle colony or RUGA settlement
The State information boss regretted a statement recently credited to a former Governor of the State suggesting that the State has a RUGA settlement and made it categorically clear that “no cattle colony or RUGA exist in Abia State”. He explained that
cattle rearing is a private business and should strictly be seen in that light, maintaining that if cattle herders find Abia grasses good for their cattle, Abia farmers could grow the grasses the more and sell the grasses to them in exchange for money or cows. He emphasized that cattle owners are expected to transport their animals to the state using trailers or trains, when available, and offload same only inside the designated cattle markets in the state.
Chief John Okiyi Kalu revealed that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has taken agriculture in the State to a higher level with many innovations introduced, including the new emphasis on value adding to primary agricultural products from the state, stating that hosting of the National Farming Season programme in the State is an acknowledgement of what the Governor has done in agriculture. According to him, Abia rice production has increased, more than four million tenera palm oil seedlings planted, mushroom farm graduates already making revenue and the state is set to launch a first of its kind agro-industrial cluster at Ubani Ibeku Umuahia.
He used the opportunity to inform Abia farmers that the state government would sustain and improve the needed financial support to them, in partnership with international donor agencies, CBN and Bank of Agriculture to ensure they produce enough food to sustain the people of the State and grow the economy.