The PDP Governorship Candidate in Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, on Saturday said if elected he would generate 1.2 million jobs by harnessing the potential in the agricultural sector.
Mbah made this known in Enugu at an interactive session with members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Enugu State Chapter.
He said his administration would achieve this noble objective through mechanised farming and agro-allied industrialization, thereby creating different economic zones in the state.
According to him, the transformation will help to create 1.2 million jobs for the teeming youths in the state.
“Our objective in the agricultural sector is to have special agro-allied processing zones across the three senatorial districts.
`We are also going to deploy technology, not just migrating from manual to mechanized agriculture, but also migrating from pipeline to platform means in intervening in the agricultural sector.
“We can’t afford to do a catch up because basically technology is taking over the space and we have to do a quantum leap and be in front and make sure that our farmers are ICT literate to be able to use technology,” Mbah said.
The governorship candidate said that if his administration was able to add 100,000 hectares of farmland to what the state had, it would create 400,000 employments in each zone.
“Our plan is to have 100,000 hectares of farmland in each senatorial zone. That would amount to 400,000 jobs in each zone and 1.2 million jobs generated from agriculture alone across the state.
“We intend to do that by designating these areas as special economic zones so that the friction that the commercial farmers would ordinarily have with the communities would be avoided by such design,” Mbah said.
He said they would work with the House of Assembly to harmonize the land tenure system so that they could plot them depending on the size of what investors wanted to do.
He reiterated his commitment to moving agriculture from the manual and pipeline method of cultivation to platform and technology-enabled agro-allied industrialization.
Mbah said that the industrialization would add value in the chain of production such as processing, packaging, storage facilities and infrastructure that would facilitate transportation of farm produce to the market.