Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has expressed concern over rising food shortage in the country and solicited for more investment in agricultural development to curtail the trend.
Okowa, who spoke, during the weekend, after supervising a multi-billion naira Agro Allied Industrial Palm Limited built on a 1,400 hectare of land owned by Akwukwu-Igbo, Ugbolu and Ilah communities in Oshimili North Local Council of the state, stated that the oil palm production was one part that rich Deltans and indeed, Nigerians, could invest in to create job opportunities and economic development of the people.
The governor, who is vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), noted that the project, which is a joint venture between Norsworthy Farms and Agro Allied Industries Limited and the Delta State Government, had successfully planted over 250,000 oil palm trees.
Okowa stated that he believed in the partnership because it would help the community and the environment, noting that presently, no fewer than 300 workers are deployed on a daily basis on the project.
Besides, he applauded the management and members of staff of Norsworthy Farms, the Obi of Akwukwu-Igbo and the people of Illah for their assistance and co-operation towards the successful commencement of the project.
He also stated that the construction of the 13.5 kilometers Ugbolu-Akwukwu-Igbo Road by his administration would promote quick access to the farm for the economic development of the region.
Earlier, Managing Director of Norsworthy Farms and Allied Industries Limited, Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie, had appreciated the governor for his support and vision for the project.
He stated that the project was conceived about four years ago to contribute to the agricultural development and food sufficiency needs of the country, stating that the company aims to expand further with the procurement of additional 600 hectares of land at Ubulu-Uku in Aniocha South Local Council.
Also, Obi Azuka disclosed that he was happy with the recent development in his community, noting that this will create an avenue for employment and exposure to new ideas, particularly for the youths in his community. He appreciated the Norsworthy Farm and state government for the noble venture in his community.
Former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Ben Uwezu, who gave a short history on how it all began, said agro allied industry limited project commenced four years back, which was a forest reserve that was turned into a farm by the state government via the ministry of environment.