The Enugu State government has declared its readiness to partner with the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase-One (ATASP-1) to actualize dry season rice farming at Ada Rice Irrigation Project Scheme, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the State.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro-Industrialisation, Mr Patrick Ubru, made the declaration on Wednesday while addressing Ada rice farmers at Uwelu-Akpa Hall in Adani community in Uzo-Uwani local government area of the state, after an inspection tour of ongoing economic projects under ATASP-1 in the area.
The Commissioner was accompanied by ATASP-1 national and zonal officials led by the Zonal Program Coordinator, Dr Romanus Egba, Chairman Enugu State House Committee on Agriculture and Agro-Industrialization, Hn. Ejike Eze, Mr Dubem Onyia, SPA to Enugu Government on Donor Relations, top officials of Enugu State Ministry of Agriculture, seasoned rice farmer and investor, Alhaji Sani Friday Nnamani, among others.
However, some of the landmark project sites visited by the commissioner and other stakeholders included the Two-Span Obinna Bridge which provides a link to the Ada Rice Irrigation Farm area, canal lining and farm roads being constructed under ATASP-1 to facilitate dry season farming and free movement of farm produce in the area.
According to the commissioner, who was impressed by what he saw during the site tour, described ATASP-1 as an important partner in Governor Peter Mbah’s vision for agricultural rebirth and transformation in Enugu State.
“Provide for the people of Enugu and make the State a food basket for Nigeria, a hub for export of cash crops and eliminate poverty by 2031,” he said.
He stressed that the Mbah administration was committed to take off dry season rice farming next season.
“On behalf of my people, we say thank you to ATASP-1 for their intervention projects and programmes in innovative agriculture in Enugu State.
“What we are telling you is that we are ready for dry season (rice) farming at Uzo-Uwani. We are ready to attract investors like Alhaji Sani who came all the way from the North to invest here. We want more investors to come into Agriculture in Enugu State”, he said.
Before now, the team had visited Adani Rice market where ATASP-1 built an ultra modern market and interacted with some traders on how to make good use of the facility.
During an interaction, the traders had identified lack of ramps as part of their reasons for not relocating into the newly constructed market, more than two years after it was commissioned for use.
The commissioner had assured that he was ready to discuss further with ATASP-1 Zonal management to address the issues they raised so they could begin to make use of the market.