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The Anambra- Imo River Basin and Rural Development Authority (Airbrda) 1976-2001

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Abstract

The cardinal role of sustainable agricultural productivity and rural
transformation in the developmerit process of developing countries is
self-evident. However, devising an appropriate and consistent paradigrn
to adequately taclde the worrisome and vexed issues of rural
i~nderdevelopmenat nd stagnation has been problematic. This is evident
in the number of development strategies and approaches that have
been put to test, adopted and jettisoned over the years. Thus,
development experts are being challenged to come to grips with the
issue of rural underdevelopment by providing apt solution in this regard.
Like other developing countries, ,Nigeria has used parastatal
organizations as catalysts for socio-economid development. From
available evidence, the results have not been as encouraging as
anticipated and have not justified the huge investments. At best, the
impsct has been insignificant and marginal.
Against this background, this study was carried out with the broad
objective of evaluating the role and impact of the Anambra-lmo River
Basin and Rural Development Authority (AIRBRDA) towards enhanced
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agricultural and rural development in the South-eastern geopolitical
zone of Nigeria.
At inception in 1976, the AIRBRDA, like the other Authorities
nationwide, was widely expected to bring the benefits of modern
agriculture to the local population. It was also anticipated to launch the
region on the path of sustainable economic and social development.
Expectedly, since inception, the Authority has attempted, though with
certain constraints to achieve its statutory goals. These goals mainly
include: development of land and water resource potentials of the
South-eastern zone of Nigeria for agricultural purposes and
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development of rural infrastructure. This is aimed at improving the
standard of living of the local population.
m It IS also germane to emphasize that the social, economlc and
other coi-wderations which influenced the establishment of the
AIRBRDA are in consonance with the problem in the South-eastern
zone of Nigeria as well as in other zones. However, admittedly, almost
three decades of its establishment, there appears to be a marked
disparity between its objectives and what has really been achieved. So,
whilst some of the objectives have been accomplished, others have
been partially achieved and yet some have remained unachieved. This
state of affairs IS attr~butable to a variety of factors, prominent among
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which include shortage of funds, inconsistency in government policies,
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inadequate operational autonomy as well as frequent governmental
interference in the running of the Authority and adoption of exotic and
inappropriate technology. Others are dearth of qualified manpower in
key areas. problems in procuring spare Pp & for broken down
equipment, plants and vehicles, inadequate supply of agricultural inputs
like agro-chemicals, fertilizers and irrigation water, inadequate feasibility
studies on the project and lack of foresight on the part of the planners
who failed to fully include the local population at the inception of the
. project.
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It is, therefore, argued that for the AIRBRDA to continue to exist
and perform its statutory functions satisfactorily in the South-eastern
zone, it imperatively needs to redefine its strategies. If not, its impact on