By Chioma Ndife
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, has emphasized the importance of promoting local industries, describing such as a pre-requisite for a more prosperous economy geared at improving the living standard of the common man.
Bishop Okoye made the disclosure while speaking to Fides at St. Mary’s Catholic Church during the blessing and official opening of a business complex that deals on frozen foods and exotic wines. He charged the chief executive of the business outfit to ensure the observance of best practices and sell products which would promote human health.
He harped on the need for the company to develop policies that would ensure that local poultry breeders and fish framers were greatly patronized as they sourced for products to be utilized in the frozen food company.
He maintained that such patronage would encourage more entrepreneurs and youths to venture into the field of poultry and fish farming, thereby reducing to a great deal, Nigeria’s over dependence on foreign countries for protein supply required by the majority of Nigerians.
He described the multiplier effect of such as a gain-gain situation for the country, noting that the unemployment rate could be reduced by two percent as dealers would see a ready market that could absorb their end products at the appropriate time.
He recalled how bird meat was greatly imported in the past and disclosed that he learnt that bird meat on sale in the business outfit was sourced locally, and expressed optimism that if such practice was maintained, people would be at peace to purchase bird meat within their environs, rather than moving to distant markets in order to be certain that meat consumed was not imported.
He noted that encouraging and supporting commercial farmers was greatly needed to ensure that meat and fish demand by Nigeria’s ever growing population was met before the intention of exporting such products would become a reality.
He commended subsistence farmers for assisting in solving the current need of people through their engagement and commitment in providing meat for the populace.
Bishop Okoye who marveled at how people embraced ‘Ugbo-azu-Ulo’, described such as a welcome development, noting that it would provide the food requirement for the masses and reduce the money which families spent procuring little things that could be obtained from their backyard.
He described agriculture as the new oil in Nigeria and encouraged people, especially unemployed youths, to engage themselves meaningfully in the area, saying that lots of opportunities abound in the field of Agriculture.