*100 youths for training
*Partner University of Agric in Mbaise
*Establish Food Reserve Centre etc
By Dikachi Franklin, Owerri
The Mbaise Policy Roundtable(MPR), a non governmental organisation with offices in Owerri, Imo State and New York, United States of America(USA)is collaborating with CSS Group of Companies, one of the largest mechanised agribusinesses in the African continent, majoring in agriculture, food processing and packaging, construction, aviation and renewable energy to revive and surpass all time contributions of agriculture to the economic development of Mbaise. The decision reached was made known in an open discussion held in Owerri.
MPR is the premier pre-Mbaise Public Policy and Business Advisory Council in the world , focused entirely on the development of Mbaise and Imo State , through the facilitation of financial and in-kind resources, private investments and private public partnerships.
Some members of the group who spoke in an open forum discussion held in Owerri on the viability of an agriculture strategy in resurging and revitalizing the economy of Mbaise include, Frank Nneji, who is the CEO of ABC Transport Company, Nick Nwuda, Chika Okoro( Dr), Prince Victor Mbalewe , Rowland Obom, Longinus Obasi, Solomon Abiakalam, Eddie Oparaoji, a professor and Chairman of MPR etc, all recommended rethinking Mbaise Agro-Economic Rebuild Strategy at the MPR forum discussion.
But specically, Frank Nneji stated “… we need to distinguish between the subsistence agriculture which our parents practised and modern commercial agriculture. Commercial agriculture is usually a major investment in which we would consider risks and returns. Agriculture investments however offer good opportunity in creating many jobs. I will therefore advise that members of this forum consider some studies back home focused on identifying suitable agricultural investments bearing in mind that we have limited land space not just in Mbaise but in Imo State generally. It is time we started funding investments as against consumption back home “.
According to MPR, ” the Mbaise most of us grew up in and remember with nostalgia, appears futuristic today, even what it was over 40 years ago.Although there was relative poverty, but not hunger and decent quality of life was sustained through common wealth. We had world class well managed schools, healthcare and religious institutions.
“The social space was fun and vibrant with all sorts of entertainment, intra and inter schools competition, and display of culture at its best. All these were powered by a commonsense subsistence agro-based economy. Sadly most of us who were products of that era, migrated to the urban areas in search of white collar jobs, thus abandoning agriculture our source of shared ‘prosperity ‘ to an increasingly aging and unsophisticated population “.
The group according to Eddie Oparaoji, a professor and chairman stated the need for MPR to remake Mbaise which is made up of three local government areas into the food basket of Imo State, using knowledge of modern agriculture science, innovations, techniques and business.
The chairman futher revealed that an understanding had been reached for CSS Group of Companies to , train free of charge 20 out of the strategically required 100 Mbaise youths, in modern agriculture techniques and business, as the foundational building blocks for this agriculture rebuild strategy, strengthen MPR and adopt it as an outlet for Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) in Mbaise, designate dedicated in-house navigators at CSS and locally at MPR to handle agriculture development inquiries and consultations from Mbaise.
Others were, to establish a customized agriculture training centre or institute in Mbaise, partner MPR in the ongoing establishment of an Agriculture University in Mbaise and to establish a Food Reserve Centre, Warehouse and distribution infrastructure in Mbaise.
The chairman disclosed that “these are not abstract initiatives, most of them are already at different implementation stages, and will need all hands on deck. As proposed during the forum discussion, with some bold ideas, risks and sacrifices, Mbaise has more than, more than enough to resurge into an agrobased economic powerhouse”.