Perishable Farm Produce: Ogbaru Farmers Want Ready Markets, Storage Facilities

By Abuchi Onwumelu

In line with the state government’s call to Ndi Anambra to actively and consciously begin the planting of economic trees and vegetables in their homes as part of measures to improve food security in the state and mitigate against the adverse economic effect of COVID-19, farmers in Ogbaru Council Area have called on the state government to provide ready markets and storage facilities for crops harvested to avert waste and hunger during this pandemic.

The chairman of Ogbaru Local Government Area, Hon. Arinzechukwu Awogu, who disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen, said the indigenes had started harvesting some farm produce, regretting that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic had hampered the sale of their crops and fishes.

He expressed worry that just as the people were recovering from last year’s flood, they were currently faced with possible loss of economic gains from their labour.
Hon. Awogu pointed out that his community had been proposing to build farm produce storage facilities to enable them to preserve perishable crops and fishes.

According to him, the initiative would be a win-win solution to farmers and government, adding that the people needed palliative in cash and farm inputs to sustain their food production in large quantity.

Some fish farmers in the area, Celestine Ijomah and Paulinus Egwuatu, narrated how they paddled their canoe day and night to harvest fish from the River Niger but regretted that their efforts earned them little or nothing due to poor patronage as a result of their topography and lack of storage facilities.

The duo appreciated Governor Obiano’s support to farmers in the state which, they said, had helped in bumper harvest this year, but said they needed more.

Meanwhile, following the state government’s call on Ndi Anambra to engage in Ugbo azu uno to maintain food security during this period of coronavirus crisis, Fides monitored various communities and observed that the people were bringing farming to their door steps

Arriving Odekpe, in Ogbaru Council Area, it was discovered that some farmers had embarked on Ugbo azu uno initiated by the state government as Mr Aku was spotted with his children working in their farm. He said the farm had helped them cope with attendant problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Aku said his entire household had been engaged in farm activities since the lockdown but that with the introduction of Ugbo azu uno, their children no longer loitered around but assisted in planting crops in their home farms.

He stated that Ugbo azu uno would reduce stress in farming and bring food closer to the people as they could now keep close watch on their crops.

On precautionary measures against COVID-19, the all season farmer said he ensured that everyone in his family observed the safety measures by regularly washing their hands with soap and water before and after working in their farms.

He thanked the state government for measures taken so far in containing the virus from spreading.
For his part, another farmer who was spotted weeding on his Ugbo azu uno, Mr Thomas Ifeachor, commended the state government’s policy on Ugbo azu uno, noting that it would ensure food security and cushion the effect COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Aku and Mr Ifeachor appreciated Governor Willie Obiano for his numerous support to farmers and appealed for his assistance in procuring more farm inputs to boost their yield.