Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Chief Pascal Aneke, the Chief Executive Officer, Paschal-Rico Group of Companies, and Switzerland returnee, Mr Sunday Ozokolo, on Sunday empowered rural farmers in Ezeagu Council Area of Enugu State with agro inputs.
The duo who hailed from Ezema Mgbagbu-owa community in Ezeagu Council Area where the empowerment programme took place, said the vision was to reawaken the spirit of agriculture among the rural farmers in Ezeagu.
According to them, they were not happy the way the youths of the area neglected farming which can serve as a means of livelihood for them.
Some of the inputs distributed to the farmers include motorcycles, agro chemicals and cash.
Ozokolo, said agriculture can solve the challenges and problems people were facing in today’s world.
He said, “I have been abroad and have been seeing how people there are doing it in agriculture, so when I returned, I saw that some of my people are lagging behind in agriculture.
“So there is the need to empower and encourage them to embrace farming; with agriculture, Enugu State and the country will grow.
“We give them prizes based on what they cultivated from Ezeagu soil and this year, we chose yam,” he said.
He added that, “Whoever, his yam becomes the overall best, goes home with the biggest prize followed by second, third and other consolation prizes.
“First prize goes home with one motorcycle and two agro-chemical, second prize goes home with one motorcycle and one chemical while third prize goes home with only motorcycle.”
Ozokolo said four farmers would go home with consolation prizes of one carton of agro-chemicals including cash.
On how they would differentiate Ezeagu yams from others, the philanthropist said they invited agricultural experts to verify whether the yams presented were Ezeagu yams or not.
He assured the event would be annual event to encourage his people into farming.
While appealing to youths to embrace farming and to see it as a means of livelihood Chief Aneke explained that the empowerment was to promote agriculture in Ezeagu LGA, Enugu State and the South-East.
He said the LGA had a large land for farming but some of the youths were unwilling to farm.
“Few that are farming, government should help them with access roads to transport their produce to markets in the state,” he appealed.
A Guest Speaker, and woman leader, Mrs Ifeoma Obidiaso, who delivered speech her on agriculture emphaised the massive benefits of agriculture to youths.
The speech was titled, “Agriculture As a Developmental Means In The Rural.”
She noted that women in the rural areas should be encourage to go into large scale farming.
She regretted that farming in the area was gradually going into extinction, hoping that the empowerment programme would help revitalise it “and make communities understand the importance of agriculture in their environment.
“There is need for people to go into farming as a means of driving away poverty, develop themselves and sustain themselves through it,” she said.
A farmer, Mr Jonex Okongwu, expressed happiness over the empowerment, saying it was the first time such programme was happening in Ezeagu.
He thanked the sponsors, describing the gesture as, “an empowerment that will help farmers.”