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July 25, 2024

Enugu Will Become Agriculture Hub for Investors to Thrive -Gov. Mbah

Gov Peter Mbah of Enugu State, has affirmed his administration’s commitment to making the state an agricultural hub for investors to thrive and grow.

Mbah disclosed this while unveiling the Enugu Rice at the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro industrialisation complex in Enugu. 

The governor, represented by his Deputy, Mr Ifeanyi Ossai, commended the Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro Industrialisation, Mr Patrick Ubru, for the efforts in making the event a reality.

His words: “I am impressed by what I see today. It is very encouraging. I commend the farmers of Enugu State and with your synergy, support and cooperation to the Enugu State Government, production of rice will continue to increase for the benefit of all.

“This is the development we have been craving for as well as the growth we are praying for. Indeed, our tomorrow is here.”

Mbah urged the staff of the ministry to be dedicated to their duties and give maximum support to the commissioner so that the ministry could achieve the mandate and vision of the state for agriculture. 

According to him, the Enugu rice brand would grow bigger than what it was known for and the state would soon be known as a rice producing state.

He explained that Enugu was now an oil producing state and also doing well in the agricultural sector, saying, “this will help to reduce hunger to zero by 2031. 

Earlier, Ubru commended the governor for his commitment to the rebirth and development of the sector.

The occasion, the commissioner stated, was a testament to their collective efforts in promoting and emphasizing the authenticity and originality of the Enugu rice brand. 

He added that it offered the state an opportunity to showcase the exceptional quality of its locally produced rice and to celebrate the hard work of the farmers.

He then maintained that the launching was promoting the brand, its originality and also ensuring that farmers had the opportunity to make substantial sales to increase their income. 

He said that the rice would be sold at the most affordable prices to make the rice accessible to all, to improve their livelihoods and boost their local economy.

Ubru noted that the state government had directed his ministry to ensure the establishment of more rice mills across the LGAs with comparative advantage in rice production.

“These mills will revolutionize rice processing in our state and also enhance our self-sufficiency and economic growth,” he said. 

He noted that this will be achieved through the land space of over 50,000 hectares of rice fields in different locations at Idodo-Owo-Ubagu-Amankanu-Nkerefi-Nara-Ugboka rice fields in Nkanu East LGA.

“Others are Ibiteolo-Mgbagbu Owa rice fields in Ezeagu LGA, Oduma-Nenwe-Okpanku rice fields in Aninri LGA, Adani-Okoro-Ogurugu- Asaba rice fields in Uzo-Uwani LGA and rice fields in Isi-Uzo LGA,” he added. 

He said Mbah’s vision was to feed Enugu people and make the state the food basket of the nation as demonstrated with the payment of counterpart funds for the donor agricultural assisted projects.

These include the payment of seven years arrears for Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program phase -1 (ATASP-1), the initial payment for the new Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L-PRESS). The three years payment for IFAD assisted Value Chain Development Programme is also part of the payments.

In his own remarks, the State Programme Coordinator of IFAD-VCOP, Mr Edward Isiwu, stated that some farmers in Abakiliki now came down to Nara, Nkerefi, Nomeh and Ubahu to cultivate rice on a leased land which they sold as Abakiliki rice. 

He appealed to the state government to provide them with some land to cultivate rice, to help in increasing the production of the grain in the state.

The Project Coordinator of World Bank assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), Mrs Ihuoma, said more attention should be paid to cultivation and standardization of rice in Enugu.

The Programme Coordinator of ATASP-1, Mr Romanus Egba, added that the primary objective of the programmes was to support farmers with the necessary inputs which included weighing scale, fertilizers, improved seedlings and climate smart materials.

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