Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Enugu State Government has declared its readiness to partner with the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase-One (ATASP-1) to actualise dry season rice farming at Ada Rice Irrigation Project Scheme in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro-Industrialisation, Mr Patrick Ubru, made the declaration while addressing Ada Rice farmers at Uwelu-Akpa Hall in Adani community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state.
He addressed the farmers during his sites inspection tour of ongoing economic projects under ATASP-1 in the area.
Ubru, who was impressed by what he saw during the sites’ tour, described ATASP-1 as an important partner in the efforts of Gov. Peter Mbah to reposition Enugu state as a major food producer.
He stressed that Mbah’s administration was committed to take-off of dry season rice farming next season in a grand style.
“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 LGA.
“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.
Earlier, the commissioner-led team 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 faculty.
During the interaction, the traders had identified lack of access ramps as part of their reasons for not relocating into the newly constructed market and making effective use of it for 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 can begin to make effective use of the market.
Some other landmark ATASP–1 project sites visited by the commissioner and other stakeholders include: the Two-Span Obinna Bridge which provides a link to the Ada Rice Irrigation Farm area.
The team also visited canal lining site and farm roads being constructed under ATASP-1 to facilitate dry season farming and free movement of farm produce in the area.
The commissioner was accompanied on the sites visit by ATASP-1 national and zonal officials led by the Zonal Programme Coordinator, Dr Romanus Egba, as well as Chairman Enugu State House Committee on Agriculture and Agro-Industrialisation, Hon. Ejike Eze.
Others in the commissioner’s team were: Mr Dubem Onyia, SPA to Enugu Government on Donor Relations as well as top officials of Enugu State Ministry of Agriculture and a seasoned rice farmer and investor, Alhaji Sani Nnamani, among others.