The Enugu state government says it will support and sustain the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Value Chain Development Program (VCDP) and others to promote agriculture.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that IFAD is an official international institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations working to address poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
Program beneficiaries from the five LGAs of Aninri, Enugu East, Nkanu East, Isi Uzo and Udenu exhibited their cassava, rice and potato farm products developed in various food chains.
Speaking at the event, Governor Ugwuanyi said that the state government would maintain the IFAD-VCDP program and others when completed with its own policies and replicate it in other areas.
According to him, the state government will continue to support international donors to improve agriculture in the state.
“It is necessary to learn what they taught us about the new farming system and continue when the project ends.
“If they are making 30 percent, we increase it annually until we are satisfied that we have farmers who can produce and ensure food security in Enugu.
“I think Enugu State will do it, having seen how agriculture contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state,” he said.
He said that “with this kind of exhibition in two years of existence, the program has come of age.”
The governor also revealed that the government would organize the largest agricultural expo where farmers in the state, with the help of agencies, could display their agricultural products.
He indicated that what FIDA-VCDP had shown was a mini expo, compared to what the state would have in December.
“What we intend to have is a macro exhibition that offers farmers the opportunity to exhibit their products,” he said.
Earlier, IFAD’s Coordinator of State Programs, Dr. Edward Isiwu, said the fair was intended to show what they produced from the inputs they received in 2021.
“In 2021, we gave the farmers of the 5 LGAs some agricultural products such as the Faro 44 species of rice seeds and the TME 419 species of cassava stalks to plant. We told them that after a year, they will come and show us what they have produced.
“This is an Agric Show report and I’m happy they didn’t let us down, but I’m proud of what they produced.
“Many of them received rice seeds, but they came here with a lot of processed rice, some with cassava, but they multiplied it into various value chains like chinchin and other sweets,” Isiwu said.
The coordinator noted that IFAD had committed millions of naira to support farmers in the state through the provision of basic services and market infrastructure.
He explained that IFAD had built solar energy wells, rice processing mills, sewers, bridges, market stalls, market shops, has developed hectares of land for farmers in the 5 LGAs benefited and water pumping machines and others for million naira.
“I am proud of the Enugu farmers because they did not waste or sell what we gave them and we are eagerly awaiting when the state government calls us for the exhibition,” he said.
One beneficiary, Ms. Felicia Aneke from Udenu LGA, expressed her gratitude to IFAD for the training and agricultural inputs provided.
“Now we can grow what we eat and sell, they even taught us the nutritional values of the plants,” he said.
================Edited /Idris Abdulrahman
Source Credit: NAN