The Enugu State government has intensified cassava production by targeting over 500 hectares of farmland in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state, as part of efforts to boost food security, create jobs, and grow the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).
During an inspection tour of the cassava farmlands in Umulokpa, Uzo Uwani LGA, on Tuesday, the Enugu State Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro-industrialization, Mr. Patrick Ubru, accompanied by the Chairman of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Mr. Celestine Chukwudi Nnadozie, reiterated the commitment of the Peter Mbah administration to create jobs, eradicate hunger, and reduce the poverty headcount index in the state to zero by 2031.
Highlighting that cassava has about 34 products and over 200 by-products that could be used by different industries, especially the pharmaceuticals, he assured that the government had plans to boost the cassava to bioethanol value chain development in the state.
“I am happy with what I have seen here today. I thank the people of Uzo Uwani for joining the state in Governor Peter Mbah’s determination to implement cassava to bioethanol value chain development in the state. Governor Mbah is relentless on this, and he is ready to get every facility put in place to actualize the project.
“It is not only that we want to ensure food security in Enugu State, we also want to industrialize, harvest, process and package our products, and export them overseas to boost our economy.”
Ubru noted that the three local governments of Nkanu East, Uzo-Uwani, and Aninri represented each of the three senatorial districts of the state in the pilot scheme, expressing hope that it would be extended to the others.
The Chairman of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area lauded Governor Mbah’s commitment to revive agriculture in the state, assuring the council’s readiness to support the government to actualize its objectives.
Nnadozie said Uzo-Uwani was targeting over 500 hectares of cassava farmlands, adding that 200 hectares had already been cultivated in communities such as Umulokpa, Ukpata, and Uvuru, while Nimbo and Abbi were willing to assist towards meeting the 500 hectares target.
He reiterated that Uzo-Uwani was blessed with fertile lands for different crops, mentioning that the soya beans intercropped with cassava in the area were doing very well.
On his part, the Supervisor for Agriculture in Uzo-Uwani, Chika Aruma, and the Head of Agriculture Department, Dr. Anya Donatus, who spoke on behalf of the people, thanked the governor for finding Uzo-Uwani worthy to benefit from the project, stating that it would not only keep the youths busy and assist in crime reduction but would also pave the way for development in the area.
Recall that the state governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, had announced his administration’s collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, together with Bio-source Technology Limited, a private sector firm, to establish bioethanol plants at Affa and Egede communities in Udi Local Government Area of the state.