Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State has inaugurated a World Bank Project on Agriculture in Nkanu East Local Government Area.
The project include 15-number Aggregation and Cottage Processing Centers in cashew, rice and poultry spread across the three senatorial zones of the state as well as 10 energy installations.
The APPEALS Project is a six-year project developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with the World Bank and other stakeholders to assist rural farmers.
Mbah, while inaugurating the project at Nara Rice Processing Centre in Nkanu East Council Area, said the state achieved the feat due to his administration’s commitment to boost food production and turn the state to a net exporter of agricultural products.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, said the agricultural revolution of the state had moved from pipeline to platform and from template to execution.
“My administration anchors the sustainability of our economy on agriculture, which has the capacity to earn huge revenue for our dear state.
“With the construction, equipping and use of this Nara rice processing center by Enugu APPEALS, the agricultural revolution of the state has moved from pipeline to platform and from dream to reality,” he said.
The governor expressed satisfaction with the impacts of APPEALS on the lives of farmers in the state.
He added that since its inception in 2019, the project had empowered 8,520 direct beneficiaries, with CIGs/SMEs totaling 2,948 and 1,700 agro-entrepreneurs among women, youths and people with disabilities.
According to him, many farmers in rice, cashew, poultry, aquaculture and cassava value chains in the state have also benefited through capacity trainings, technology demonstrations and knowledge exchange visits which have exposed them to modern agricultural best practices.
“Furthermore, Enugu State, through the APPEALS Project, has constructed 15 Aggregation/Processing Centers in cashew, rice and poultry farmers,” he said.
He named the centers to include Nara, Adani, Ngwo, Orba, Aguobuowa, Amechi, Ikpa Market-Nsukka, Udi, Eha-Amufu, Oduma and Akwarri in Ehalumona.
The APPEALS Project Coordinator in Enugu State, Mrs Ihuoma Eze, said the project had made meaningful contributions in the lives of farmers across the state directly prioritising the needs of women and youths who are into agriculture and entrepreneurship.
She stated that the Aggregation and Processing Centers had been equipped with all the required value chain machineries for optimum operation.
Eze said that the Rice Aggregation and Processing Centers had both milling and drying capacities of 10 tons per day and five tons per day, respectively.
According to her, the supplied and installed equipment for Rice Centers include paddy precleaner, paddy grader, parboiling/soaking vessels, stream boiler, platform dryers, rice dehusker, and rice polisher.
Others are destoner, polished rice grader, rice packaging machines, sets of elevators, 40KVA generator, bag closers among others.
She appreciated the support from the state government, which ensured that the projects were completed.
“It is noteworthy to mention that the completion of all these 15 number Aggregation and Cottage Processing Centers as well as the 10 Energy Intervention sites were expedited and completed within the 100 days of His Excellency, Peter Mbah’s administration.
“The APPEALS project executed in Enugu worth 19.4 US dollars since its inception in 2019 till date, adding that the project, which ended in September has met its project development objectives.
“It is our earnest prayer that the 15 number of aggregation and cottage processing center of rice, cashew, poultry across the three senatorial zones will impact maximally in the various localities to contribute food security, livelihood improvement and export,” she said.