The Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase-One (ATASP-1), Adani-Omor Zonal Staple Crops Processing Implementation Unit has presented different agricultural enhancement equipment to five farmers’ cooperative groups out of 13 benefiting communities in Anambra state.
Beneficiaries of the 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 delivery of Mobile Thresher, Rubber-Mill, Rice Destoner and Dryer machines as well as Handheld Planter while Anaku farmers received Mobile Thresher and Knap sack sprayer.
Farmers from Awgbu and Awa were empowered with one Hammer Mill and Knap Sack Sprayer each while Isuofia farmers received Cassava Grater, three Knap Sack and a Handheld Planter.
Presentating the items during official flag-off of the 2023 farming season in Awka, State Deputy Governor, Dr Onyeka Ibezim advised the beneficiaries to make good use of the equipment handed to them.
He also charged them to ensure they became 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,” he added.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Forster Ihejiofor also warned the beneficiaries against misuse of the equipment 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 equipment are not free. They were funded with public money, so the farmers who benefited from them 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,” he added.
ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Zonal Program Coordinator, Mr Romanus Egba disclosed that a total of 13 farmers groups across the state selected based on needs assessment done by the program would benefit from the initiative.
He said, “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 to create employment and income generation along the 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.
“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. 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.”
Deputy Governor Ibezim presented the equipment in company of Commissioner for Agriculture and Chairman Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers Council, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe.