Determined to boost food production in the country, Enugu State Government yesterday, organized a 5-day intensive training for over eighty indigenous Agricultural extension workers in modern farming techniques under the African Union Development Agency (AUDA)/New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Small Holder Farmers Project.
The training, according to the Coordinator of AUDA/NEPAD, Enugu State, Hon. Mrs. Mabel Agbo, would usher in the actual implementation of the Small Holder Farmer Project in the state.
Mrs. Agbo added that the programme will expose the participating farmers to international best practices in agricultural techniques for optimal results.
She said, “The farmers involved in the AUDA/NEPAD project actually need to be positioned to get the best out of the programme for them to acquire the requisite economic capacity to cushion the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Flagging off the training in Enugu, tagged “Train the Trainers Workshop”, the AUDA/NEPAD State Coordinator enjoined the participants to show dedication and pay adequate attention, adding that the success of the AUDA/NEPAD farming project rests with them.
“We are relying on you to impart religiously the knowledge you receive here to the two thousand farmers who will be participating in the AUDA/NEPAD project”, she added.
Commending Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration for financing the training, the AUDA/NEPAD State Coordinator disclosed that “These two thousand benefitting farmers are expected to engage in the following value chain: poultry, piggery, fishery, cassava, rice, maize, Nsukka pepper production, snail production, palm kernel oil processing etc”.
She recalled that Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration recently trained over 260 young farmers on modern techniques in agriculture at CSS Global Farms, Keffi, Nasarawa State, to enable them rebrand and enhance their skills in the agricultural value chain.
Speaking further, the AUDA/NEPAD State Coordinator, Mrs. Agbo, pointed out that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration is passionate about the wellbeing of the masses and the need to ameliorate their sufferings owing to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy.
She stressed that the state government took interest in financing the training because of the core spirit behind the Small Holder Farmers Project, which is to stimulate the production of enough food in the society to cushion the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs. Agbo, who is also the State Commissioner for Special Duties, lauded the National Coordinator of AUDA/NEPAD, Princess Gloria Akobundu and members of her team for “their commitment to helping Nigerians come out of the doldrums of lack and poverty”.
According to her, “The fact that AUDA/NEPAD Continental Office is financing a major aspect of the project is exciting and worthy of commendation. I am convinced that together we can make Nigeria and invariably, Enugu economically stronger, if we try hard enough”.
Represented by Mr. Onyekachi Okorafor, the Chief Executive Officer AUDA/ NEPAD Abuja, Princess Akobundu, commended Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration for financing the training of Agric extension officers, who will in return train about two thousand farmers that will participate in the AUDA/NEPAD project, aimed at strengthening Small Holder Farmers capabilities.
Princess Akobundu stated that the state government’s gesture was a demonstration of its commitment to finding alternative sources of livelihood for its citizens especially following the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that her mission in Enugu was to confirm that the standard adopted in the training process especially the choice of resource persons engaged and the content of the training modules were in line with international standards.
The AUDA/NEPAD Chief observed that the lectures were engaging and geared towards exposing the extension officers and invariably the farmers that will implement the project to modern farming techniques.
Expressing satisfaction with the standard of training, AUDU/NEPAD Chief Executive Officer urged the participants to take the exercise seriously as the success of the entire project rests on them, stressing that farming is a serious business that should be accorded priority attention.
Reacting, the participants lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his interest in food security and employment generation for the people of the state, especially the teeming youths.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, the Chairman of Enugu Farmers Association, Mr. Romanus Eze thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for availing them the opportunity to gain training in modern agricultural techniques to aid them in massive food production and empowerment.
Eze expressed delight at the state government’s steadfastness towards the programme in terms of finance and due process in selection of the participants, saying that “it is marvelous