By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
The Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase-One (ATASP-1), Adani-Omor Zonal Staple Crops Processing Implementation Unit has presented different agricultural enhancement equipments to five farmers’ cooperative groups out of 13 benefiting communities in Anambra state.
The presentation was made during the official flag-off of the 2023 farming season in Anambra state on Thursday, June 15, 2023 by the Anambra State Deputy Governor, Dr Onyeka Ibezim alongside the state commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Forster Ihejiofor and the Chairman Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers Council, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe.
The beneficiaries of the agricultural enhancement equipment include the Obioma Farmers’ Cooperative, Umumbo, Orji-Ugo Farmers’ Cooperative, Anaku (Ayamelum LGA); Obinwanne Farmers’ Cooperative, Awgbu & Ifeadigo Farmers’ Cooperative, Awa (Orumba North LGA) as well as Isuofia farmers.
The Umumbo farmers took home Mobile Thresher, Rubber-Mill, Rice Destoner and Dryer machines as well as Handheld Planter. Anaku farmers, received Mobile Thresher and Knap sack sprayer.
Meanwhile, Awgbu and Awa farmers, were empowered with One Hammer Mill and Knap Sack Sprayer each while Isuofia farmers received Cassava Grater, three Knap Sack and a Handheld Planter.
Ibezim, in his brief remarks, advised the beneficiaries to make good use of the equipments handed to them, as well as ensure that they become employers of labour and major contributor to food supplier in the country.
‘The multiplier effect of this kind of empowerment is what the government of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has been talking about.
The Agric Commissioner, Dr. Ihejiofor, also warned the beneficiaries against misuse of the equipments stressing that they were provided with loans from the African Development Bank (AfDB) which can be paid back with time by the federal government and state. “These equipments are not free.
They were funded with public money, so the farmers who benefited from these equipments must work hard to produce and process foods with them so that we have abundant and food becomes cheaper in the state and the country. You are also expected to use these machines to create jobs and wealth and that is what the government want to achieve.
ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Zonal Program Coordinator, Mr Romanus Egba told newsmen that a total of 13 farmers groups across Anambra state would benefit from the initiative in the state and that the beneficiaries were selected based on needs assessment done by the program.
‘These agricultural enhancement machines were procured and distributed to various farmers cooperative groups based on their needs. We are giving them because we felt that farmers we are supporting in our zone should also use them to boost their livelihood and income which is one of the major objectives of ATASP-1 which is to create employment and income generation along’ the agricultural value chain of rice, cassava and sorghum.
Our farmers in Umumbo, for instance, have been crying that they have a giant rice mill in their community yet they could not have access to it because they could not afford it. So, we are able to provide them with another smaller rice processing machine which they can install in their own village.
We also supported our farmers in Awa and Awgbu with a hammer mill because the problem they have is that they cannot process cassava into flour. So, we believe that this machine will boost their post-harvest processing capacities.
‘We also provided them with sprayers so they can use it in their farms as well. We also provided farmers with hand-held planters so that farmers would no longer go through the pains of bending down to plant their seeds.
The planters can be used to plant maize, rice and sorghum. We also provided mobile cassava grating machine because we discovered that we have farmers that are doing well in cassava production but they don’t have grating machine to process them.
The good thing about this machine is that it can be taken to where ever it is needed to assist the farmer in grating cassava.