The administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State recently organised a 5-day intensive training for over 80 indigenous agric 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, Mrs. Mabel Agbo, would usher in the actual implementation of the smallholder farmer project in the state.
A statement quoted Agbo to have said the programme would 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 participants to show dedication and pay adequate attention, adding that the success of the AUDA/NEPAD farming project rests with them as, “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.”
Commending 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.”
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 Agbo, pointed out that Ugwuanyi’s administration was 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 smallholder farmers’ project, which is to stimulate the production of enough food in the society to cushion the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Agbo, who is also the Enugu State Commissioner for Special Duties, applauded 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 the Chief Executive Officer AUDA/ NEPAD Abuja, Mr. Onyekachi Okorafor, Akobundu, commended Ugwuanyi’s administration for financing the training of Agric extension officers, who would in return train about two thousand farmers that will participate in the AUDA/NEPAD project, aimed at strengthening Small Holder Farmers capabilities.
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 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 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.”