Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing & Export

Introduction

01. Introduction
Agriculture is the No.1 pillar in His Excellency Governor Willie Obiano’s administration. Agreeably, it has very high potentials for empowerment and employment generation, food security and poverty reduction. On assumption of office, Governor Obiano unfolded a master strategy to transform the agricultural sector into a leading player in national and global food markets. The State Government has made remarkable achievements in the agricultural sector and can be summarized as follows.

Agriculture Blue Print

02. Agriculture Blue Print
On assumption of office, he inaugurated a 14 man Agriculture Blue Print team to design a road map for developing agriculture in the State. The team headed by a renowned agronomist, Professor C.P.E. Omaliko produced the blue print which has mapped the state to determine which crops performs well in certain places and gave recommendations on the way forward. The activities executed in the sector are based on the development plan.

Two pronged Strategy

03. Two pronged Strategy
In order to achieve the desired result, two pronged approach were used by His Excellency. These include Public Private Partnerships (PPP) with large scale investors and offtakers and through the provision of support to small scale farmers.

Large Scale Commercial Farms

04. Large Scale Commercial Farms

i. Cosched Farms
The State Government is partnering with Cosched Farms (a subsidiary of Coscharis Group) for Commercial rice processing at Anaku. The Expected output from the farm is 60,000MT with milling capacity of 150,000MT. The company has commenced operations and planted 500 hectares (HA) of rice farm. Currently the Cosched farms are using flat irrigation on over 1000 HA. Cocheds Farms Ltd is investing the sum of N50billion. A total of 2500HA of land was allocated to the farmer at Anaku and the investment is expected to create 2000 jobs / employment. The expected out-put is put at 60,000 MT of paddy with a capacity of 150,000 MT milling Machine.

Anambra State and Cosched Farms

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ii. NOVTEC Farms Ltd
The State entered into partnership with NOVTEC Farms Ltd for the resuscitation of Anambra State Rice project at Omogho and Ndikelionwu. Operations have started and the company is currently installing sprinkler irrigation system at the site.
NOVTEC’s investment is worth $50,000,000 (Fifty Million Dollars) and cultivation rice on 450HA with over 300HA out grower model scheme.


iii. Lynden Integrated Farm

The PPP with Lynden Integrated Farms is for the development of a modern integrated poultry and production of high quality eggs and poultry meat in the state. Already, operations have commenced at Igbariam on the $61 million Us Dollar investments. Lynden ultra modern poultry investment is being developed on a 75HA land size and it is expected to provide over 1200 direct and indirect employment. Lyden farmers is investing the sum of N4.46billion (USD 61m). A total of 75HA of land was allocated to farm at Igbariam. The investment is expected to create about 1500 jobs / employment.

Anambra State and Lynden Integrated Farm

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iv. DelFarms Ltd

This is a $200,000 PPP investment with Delfarms; a Songhai Model Farms of Benin Republic to establish an integrated organic farm in each of the three senatorial zones of the state. The company has commenced operations at Igbariam on about 398 HA land size as part of their 2000HA of approved allocation. Del Farms Ltd is investing the sum of N11billion. The investment is expected to create about 1000 jobs (Direct jobs 300 indirect jobs 700).

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i. Joseph Agro Ltd
The ANSG/Joseph Agro Ltd is making a $150,000,000 (Hundred Million Dollar)PPP investment for the rehabilitation of Omor Rice Mill and Irrigated Rice production at Omor and Ufuma. The farm has expected output of 100,000MT and mill size of 120,000 MT. The land has been identified and development commenced. Joseph Agro Ltd is investing the sum of N33billion. The farm was allocated 380HA at Ufuma and the investment is expected to create 1500 jobs (500 direct and 1000 indirect jobs)

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vi. Eckcel Farms Ltd.
This is a $100, 000,000 (One Hundred Millon Dollar) partnership investment for commercial cassava production and production/processing of tomatoes at Omasi. The expected output is 80,000MT. The ground breaking has been done at Omasi and work has commenced at the site. Eckcel Farms Ltd is investing the sum of N22billion (USD 100m). A total of 2,500HA of land has been allocated to the farm at Omasi. The investment is expected to create about 1500 jobs(Direct jobs 500 Indirect jobs 1000).

vii. Tricity Integrated Farms
This is an $11.4 million Dollar investment on a 5HA land size and the partnership arrangement is for the establishment of a modern semi-automated abattoir in Awka. This will be scaled up to three (one in each senatorial zone of the state). The ground breaking has been done and the company will soon commence construction works. The investment will fetch over 1100 direct and indirect employment. Tricity Integrated Farms is investing the sum of 11.1million USD. A total of 5ha of land was allocated to the farm at Amansea. The investment is expected to create about 750 employment (Direct jobs 300, Indirect jobs 450).

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viii. Grains and Silos Ltd
This is a $23.5 million Dollar investment and the partnership arrangement is for the setting up of grains silos and malting plant with state. The company has started land clearing and will commence construction next.
This investment will fetch over 150 direct and indirect employment.
Silos and Grains Ltd is investing the sum of N5.2 billion. A total of 5 ha was allocated to the farm at Nkwellezeunaka and the investment is expected to create 1500 jobs/employment in the state.

ix. Staple Crop processing Zone
Anambra State was selected to benefit from the SCP2 to be established at Ayamelum LGA. The state has provided 250 hectares of land at Omor while arrangement is being made to provide a zonal office for the SCPZ at Awka. The State Ministry of Agriculture is also furthering discussions with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to kick state the project. 

Land Acquisition

5. Land Acquisition

The state government inaugurated the Land Acquisition Committee to help cut the bottlenecks of acquiring large expanse of land for agriculture. The committee has succeeded in sourcing land for Eckcel Farms, Del farms, Joseph Agro, Lyden farms, Coscheds farms etc. as at today, 65,000 hectares of land are available for investors and small holder farmers.

Mechanization/Tractorization

6. Mechanization/Tractorization

In order to boost mechanization, the state government procured 10new tractors with full complement of implements. The State Government is also into partnership with Eforce Agro Development for the procurement and management of 100 tractors at Awkuzu Tractor Base. The tractors have been supplied and operations have commenced. Under this arrangement, 10,000hectares of farm land were prepared across the state during the last planting season.

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Improving the Quality of Rice

 07. Improving the Quality of Rice
The State Government has established one modern Rice Mill at Omor with a destoner in order to improve the quality of rice produced in the state to meet international standards. More mills will be established in the rice producing communities in the state.

Distribution of Anambra State Rice

08. Distribution of Anambra State Rice
In line with the agricultural revolution programme of the State Government and in tandem with the local content policy of His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, the State Ministry of Agriculture has commenced mass assembling of local rice for distribution to civil servants, public servants, pensioners and the less privileged as Christmas gift. The rice was destined, bagged and branded as “Anambra Rice”. The era of distribution of imported rice in the state is over, since the locally produced rice are more nutritious and has better aroma.

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Sustainable off taking of Farm Produce

 09. Sustainable off taking of Farm Produce
The State Ministry of Agriculture in furtherance of the state government’s initiative on the 21st Jan 2016 successfully landed its produce (Ugu and Onugbu) into Europe. This is a test run of 2.5MT to certify the conditioning centre and delivery of Anambra produce. The state has gone further to initiate training , Certification and networking interested off taker. Arrangements and understanding have been made with the logistic company ABX World Cargo& IFAOCM for their development of a conditioning centre for the preparation of the vegetables for export. This is also developed in partnership with Bosh produce, Eagle solution and Global Gap to export fruits and vegetable to European countries. The vegetable farmers are being trained on the right method of vegetable planting and use of organic fertilizer and pesticides. Certifications will be issued to successful farmers by Eagle Solutions Services Ltd of United Kingdom (UK).
The state is also making further arrangements with other off takers ie. Grand Cereal Ltd, UK trade and investment team, Global Gap etc. for the off take of agricultural produce from the state.

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Agric Fairs/Shows

10. Agric Fairs/Shows

The present administration has sustained agricultural shows to showcase agricultural produce from the state. The ministry has also in collaboration with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) organized Cassava Show and Training of farmers on confectioneries production with cassava. The winners of the 2015 Agric Show were presented with gifts such as a Tri-cycle Truck for the best farmer, motorcycle for the second and third best farmers and 10 wheel barrows as consolation prices.

Youth Empowerment in Agriculture

11. Youth Empowerment in Agriculture

In pursuance of the State Government Youth Employment in Agriculture, the State has established Agricultural Training Centre at College of Agric Mgbakwu. The first batch of 250 youths has been trained in various productions of livestock. These youths would be empowered to develop agriculture skills. The Agric Training Centre will be established in 3 senatorial zones of the state.

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Input Support to Small Scale Farmers

12. Input Support to Small Scale Farmers

The State Government through the ministry of Agriculture is providing improved seeds, planting materials and fertilizers to farmers in the state free of charge. So far, cassava cuttings, maize and rice seeds have been distributed to farmers to improve the productivity of small scale farmers. Also, the state government is participating in World Bank Sponsored Fadama Project, IFAD Assisted, RUFIN, IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Project and Islamic Dev. Bank Sponsored National programme for food Security (NPFS). These projects also provide input support to small scale farmers.

Revalidation of Co-operatives

13. Revalidation of Co-operatives

The Ministry of Agriculture is revalidating the agricultural co-operatives. This is to ensure that only genuine ones benefit from inputs support of government. This will also scale up operations and analysis of yields and output.

So far, 1,025 co-operatives have been validated, bringing the number of registered farmers in the state to 12,000.

Agro Control Centre

14. Agro Control Centre

The Ministry of Agriculture has established Agro Control Centre with full internet facilities and equipment.  This is achieved by the full support of His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano .The application/Platform (FIMS) Farmer information management system was developed going by international commodity exchange requirement which includes the traceability and mapping the farms into the platform. The platform will hold farmers Database of farmers and help for easy reporting and analysis of activities of the farmers activity. This is to enable the ministry receive information and farmers complaints for rapid response from experts in the ministry. Farmers can now channel their complaints via SMS to 08103524975.

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Soil, Plant and Water Lab.-1st of its kind in the country.

15. Soil, Plant and Water Lab.-1st of its kind in the country.

Soil, plant and water laboratory has been established in the ministry’s headquarters. The laboratory is for testing of soil plant and water. This is very important in agriculture for analyzing the soil, plant and water.

Anambra Rice: Commissioner Projects 210 Metric Tons’ Harvest.

16. Anambra Rice: Commissioner Projects 210 Metric Tons’ Harvest

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Hon. Afam Mbanefo has said that Anambra state is expecting a harvest of 210 metric tons of rice at the end 2016 farming season, a major improvement from 2015 harvest of 190 metric tons.

The Commissioner who was addressing members of Aguleri Cooperative Group Association at Amanze Aguleri recently stated that there was a wide gap between the quantity of rice consumed and the quantity cultivated in Anambra state, adding that the state hopes to bridge this gap by projecting a harvest of 320 metric tons by the year 2017.

Mr. Mbanefo revealed that the reason behind the massive distribution of improved and certified seedlings by the Ministry and other project arms of the Ministry was to ensure a bumper harvest and the standardization of Anambra agricultural produce.

He went further to call on the farmers to collaborate with the Ministry in the actualization of the target; by using the inputs strictly on their farms according to specifications and instruction, most especially now, that Anambra Rice and Vegetables are gaining popularity in and outside Nigeria.

The Commissioner stressed the importance of farmers having their cooperative Identity cards at disbursment centers, as it makes identification and authentication of farmers easier.

Earlier in his remarks, the state Rice Project Manager, Mr. Jude Nwankwo revealed that provision of hybrid maize, furrow 44 rice seedlings and lime fertilizer is in fulfillment of Governor Obiano’s promise to Ndi- Anambra farmers. He expressed the state’s expectation that farmers should use the inputs for the purpose they were meant.

In his vote of thanks, Chief Joseph Anochie, Chairman of the Aguleri Cooperative Group Association, expressed joy over Governor Obiano’s largesse to farmers in the state and pledged their unalloyed support to his vision for the state’s agricultural sector.

Mr Alex Nnoruka, the Chairman of Ezinwanne Cooperative Aguleri, a recipient of the farm inputs thanked the Commissioner and pledged his commitment to use the inputs in his farm

Highlight of the occasion was the distribution of farm inputs to various cooperative groups among whom are Ifedinma Cooperative Aguleri, Divine Mercy multi- cooperative and Ezinwanne cooperative Aguleri.

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Revolution in Anambra Agric Sector Is no Political Scam--Mbanefo

17. Revolution in Anambra Agric Sector Is no Political Scam–Mbanefo

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The Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Hon. Afam Mbanefo has stated that the giant strides currently being recorded in the state agricultural sector are real and not political gimmicks by the state government.

Hon. Afam Mbanefo speaking at an interactive session with press men in his office at ADP Complex Awka, called on Ndi Anambra to eschew the notion that government is trying to pull the wool over their eyes and embrace the Governor’s vision for Anambra agricultural sector.

“It is high time Ndi Anambra eschew negative notion about the sincerity of government regarding their welfare as it is seriously negating the developmental pace in the state,’ he said.

The Commissioner stated that in some communities in the state, it was very difficult to carry the farmers along because of this belief, citing situations in which farmers find it extremely difficult releasing land to government for agricultural purposes as major hindrances in boosting food production in the state.

“The Ministry is readily available and open to the public for inquires on whatever part of the government policies and plans they are not conversant with, this will help in clearing up misconception about government efforts as data and facts are available to back up every success stories recorded” he added.

Continuing, Hon. Mbanefo urged communities in the state to look at the larger picture partnering with the state government will yield in terms of development, employement and enlightenment.

Answering questions  on government‘s efforts towards making Anambra  self-sufficient in food production, Hon.Mbanefo, stated that government has gone on massive distribution of farm input to farmers, sensitization programmes on best agro practices that lead to bumper harvest and linking  farmers to off takers, who are ready to off take their produce from them.

In addition, the Commissioner listed the provision of credit facilities at low interest rate through collaborations with financing institutions, provision of an export desk, cooperative desk and Agriculture library at the Ministry and the resuscitation of moribund agric projects, as part of the government’s effort.

Speaking further, the Commissioner revealed plans by the state to embark on all year round cultivation of Anambra Rice, through the provision of irrigation facilities at designated communities to increase rice production from 3000 to 4000 hectares obtainable in Anaku and Omor communities to 12 000 hectares. This will reduce scarcity as demand for the rice is coming in from Sierra Leone, Liberia and other parts of the world, he added.

Hon. Mbanefo stressed the importance of farmers to form cooperatives and register the cooperatives at the cooperative desk set up at the Ministry to be part of this revolution. The registration is at a reduced cost for farmers, he added.

Obiageli Nwankwo

Anambra Agric Commissioner Reassures Communities Over Land Ownership.

18. Anambra Agric Commissioner Reassures Communities Over Land Ownership.

By Obiageli Nwankwo : Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Hon Afam Mbanefo has reassured communities in the state that lands released by them for Commuinity Farm Development Programme CFDP, would not be taken over by the State Government.

Hon. Mbanefo gave this assurance when the CFDP’s team visited Archbishop Heerey Technical Secondary School in Ogidi.

Addressing the School Management, the Commissioner Stated that the state Government has no intention of confiscating lands released for agriculture by Communities.

According to him,’’ Under the Community Farm Development Programme, the state government is only interested in developing lands within the community for the community, so that every Anambra family can afford to eat three square meals a day.’’

Continuing, he commended the school authority for the 10 hectares of land released to the programme and urged them to collaborate with the Ministry in its quest to showcase the lucrative side of agriculture to the pupils, adding that the CFDP is initiated with the intent to woo the younger generation into agriculture.

The resident Father of the School, Rev Father Peter Nwadimkpa in his response commended Governor Obiano for the programme and other numerous achievements the state has recorded particularly in exportation of vegetables and yam tubers abroad.

Reverend Nwadimkpa further stated that the farm development programme came at the right time as pupils will be exposed to mechanized agriculture, adding that it will help to eradicate the notion in younger generation that Agriculture is a dirty business and reserved for the aging or aged members of the society.

Earlier, the team visited the 15,000 capacity fish farm and six thousand birds’poultry farm at CADO Agric Project owned by Catholic Archdiocese Onitsha in Ogidi.

Canon Father Edwin Udeoye during the tour of the facility revealed that plans are under way for a processing mill to be built on the farm adding that equipment for the project will arrive the facility soon.

Agriculture reignites hope for Anambra: Nnachetta.

19. Agriculture reignites hope for Anambra: Nnachetta

By Mike Afah & Obiageli Nwankwo

The Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Communication Strategy, Ogbuefi Tony Nnacheta has said that the Ministry of Agriculture in the State has what it takes to compete favourably with its counterparts throughout the Federation.

The Commissioner made the statement during his media tour to the Ministry of Agriculture E-room-control centre, Awka to see the innovations and creativity introduced by the State government for easy reporting of the farmers across the state.

Addressing over 40 journalists and media executives, Ogbuefi Nnacheta, described the E-Agriculture innovation as impressive and a place of pride, adding that Anambra state has what it takes to revolutionize agriculture.

He further called on Ndi Anambra to avail themselves of the opportunities provided by the state government to key into agriculture and be empowered, pointing out that only agriculture will save the country from the present economic recession.

Receiving the team, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Hon Afam Mbanefo who was ably represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Comrade Leo Imoka explained that the centre enables the Ministry to monitor and evaluate agricultural production, provides easy communication with farmers and enhances traceability of ownership in line with the international commodity exchange standard.

Mr Imoka further stated that the system has the bio-data of every farmer in the state.

Also speaking, the Head of Planning, Research and Statistics, PRS, Mr Ekene Adokwe, also speaking disclosed that the data available at the Centre, shows that 101,032 farmers as well as 2465 cooperatives have been registered in the state, adding that the ratio of female to male farmers in the state, is 66.6% : 44.4%, while over 70% 0f farmers fall under the age bracket of 61-80 years of age with youths making 30 %.

ANAMBRA GOVERNMENT TAKES DELIVERY OF IRRIGATION FACILITIES..

20. ANAMBRA GOVERNMENT TAKES DELIVERY OF IRRIGATION FACILITIES.

By ObiageliNwankwo

The Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export Hon. Afam Mbanefo has stated that Umudara-Ihiala community will soon receive the irrigation  pump approved by the State Governor for all year round farming activities of the cluster cooperatives in the area.

Hon. Mbanefo disclosed this while inspecting the ongoing Umudara market/Abanze river road project.

Hon. Mbanefo who was accompanied by the Snr Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, Engr Mike Ogbuekwe and other Management Staff of the Ministry, further stated that his Ministry has arranged with the off takers that would buy off the farm produce adding that the youths of the Community would be trained to enable them key into the various agriculture enterprises and make money for themselves.

The Commissioner and his team at the palace of the community leader of Umudara –Ihiala,Ogbuefi Zephnia Chukwuka, commended the community for the peaceful co-existence amongst the people and also for allocating land to the co-operatives for the community farm development programme.

He assured Ogbuefi Chukwuka that the youths of the community will benefit optimally from the programme, adding that Governor Obiano is very much interested in any programme that is beneficial to the youths.

Responding, the community leader expressed happiness on the recognition given to the community by Governor Obiano and commended the Commissioner for the monitoring visit, pointing out that the road was impassable before the construction works. He promised that the community would make more land available for government agric programmes.

In his remarks, the Chairman, APGA in Ihiala LGA, Mr Cyprian Obih commended the Governor for his laudable agricultural programmes designed to empower the youths and called on the people to continue to support him.

In a vote of thanks, the Youths Leader of Umudara-Ihiala community Mr Livinus Chigbogu plegde youths support to Governor Obiano in the next election adding that youths in the community have benefitted immensely from his agricultural program especially the community farm development programme.

ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNMENT PARTNERS WITH UNDP ON MEAT DISTRIBUTIONS.

21. ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNMENT PARTNERS WITH UNDP ON MEAT DISTRIBUTIONS

By EKWEAGA UZOMA

Plans to construct and develop modern abattoir  that would aid the supply of clean and hygienic  meats in the State has facilitated  the  United Nations Development Programme UNDP to enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture Mechanization Processing and Export on how  to construct ,rehabilitate and develop six new abattoirs to promote  the supply of healthy meats in the state .

Inspecting the abattoirs in the State, The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export Mr Afam Mbanefo noted that the State Government has developed a blue print that would guide the activities of the abattoirs, the butchers processing and supply of meats.  Considering the partnership with the UNDP, more six abattoirs would be built while facilities be provided for the already existing ones, he stressed the desire of the State Governor to better the plight of the butchers by extending dividend of democracy to them

The commissioner acknowledged the wholesome unity and cooperation that existed among the association which made them to have one voice as their demands would receive rapid attention before the government in policy formulations

In his response,  the Chairman of the Onitsha Butchers Association, Chief Jude Okoye, expressed hope and confident on the present administration for extending their supports demonstrated  by confronting the  challenges of the  butchers in the  State .

A similar visit to the Nnewi NKwo triangle Market , The  Chairman of the Nnewi Abbatoir Association Chief Amobi Nnoruka applauded the state government for providing them with disinfectants, attributing the recent progress recorded by the association to the fatherly adivice from the commissioner

Some of the touring team includes the Director Vetenary Services Dr Daniel Obele , Director Engineering,  Engr Anthony Chibwo with the President National Association of Butchers Chief Felix Ikenga and the Public Relation Officer of the Ministry Mr Mike Afam

ECOLOGICAL ORGANIC AGRICULTURE ASSOCIATION STRATEGIZES WAY FORWARD.

22. ECOLOGICAL ORGANIC AGRICULTURE ASSOCIATION STRATEGIZES WAY FORWARD.

BY EKWEAGA UZOMA

The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative of Nigeria   under the auspices of the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria held stakeholder seminar to propagate healthy living among the people through the implementation of Organic farming practices in the South East and South South  zones .

The seminar which was the first of its kind attracted large crowd including Academia, Public Servants Agro based Industrialist and farmers groups from the zones, at the Anambra State Agricultural Development Programme ASADEP Conference Hall Awka .

The activities of EOA began   in 2012 when some  African Countries decided to  package , sustained the healthy climate in Soil with the eco biodiversity system for the people , four  African Countries selected for the programme one  each  from South , West  East and North , as Nigeria starting the pilot phase in 2014 .

The team led, by the country coordinator EOA ,Dr Olugbenga  Adeluwa ,with the Publicity Secretary Professor Ngozi Meludu ,DR O. Gbadamosi and Financial Officer Mr Moses Obayemi,  paid courtesy call to the honourable Commissioner Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing  and Export  Mr Afam Mbanefo who thanked the group for complimenting the efforts of the State government in preaching the use of organic farming practices ,noting that recently some  vegetable farmers were trained by the ministry, based on this, Anambra has exported over 11 metric tons  of vegetables  to UK and Europe,  similarly, Off takers were provided for the farmer for onward delivery of their  produce to Europe and Asian countries.

Mr Mbanefo urged them to harmonize, validate their group activities in to data for accessibility and clarification, assuring that the state Government would fund the business segment in the   yet proposed national seminar slated to hold in the State this year.

Earlier at the seminar, The Regional Director Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Sir Ibezim Nnamdi called for the quick implementation of these ideas, considering the large and enormous potentials in agriculture that informed the Federal Government to look for ways of exporting over 4million metric tons of Yam tubers to Europe.

The one day forum highlighted the various structures bothering on the core values and pillars of development in the Platform for Ecological organic Agricultural practices in the zone, Dr O Gbadamosi emphasised the importance of practicalizing ecological farming for healthy living among the people which can only be realized through upholding the principles of the programme.

WOMEN STRATEGIZE WAY FORWARD FOR 2017 FARMING ACTIVITIES

23.

WOMEN STRATEGIZE WAY FORWARD FOR 2017 FARMING ACTIVITIES.

By Ifeoma Aniagbado.

Women participants in the ongoing Community Farm Development Programme have met to discuss the way forward in 2017 farming activities.

Addressing the women at the meeting held at ADP complex hall Awka, the coordinator community farm development programme women wing Mrs. Theresa Okoye a.k.a Ochiora commended the women for coming out in mass to articulate agriculture in the state. She also called on the coordinators in different communities to dig out the cluster heads in each pulling unit that will help them reach the real farmers in the state.

Mrs OKoye while stressing the need to involve men and youth into the program for future purposes called on the leaders in the 3 senatorial zones of the state to conduct sensitization exercises down to the grass root level.

She further urged women to support Governor Obiano for the second tenure since he remembered the poor farmers in the state.

The woman leader in Omor who cultivates Nchuanwu, water melon and ginger, Mrs Caroline Onuora commends Chief Willie Obiano for having the interest of the farmers at heart by improving the Agricultural sector and for using the Hon. Commissioner Mr. Afam Mbanefo to reach the real farmers in the state.

In a similar vein, Mrs Nonye Ugodili a fish farmer and a woman leader from Onitsha South lamented about the political farmers who divert the funds meant   for the rural farmers in the state. She therefore advised the coordinator to always reach the farmers through their wards in the community.

The meeting attracted both men and women across the state amongst who were Chief Mrs. Ibezim Chinyere from Abatete, Mrs. Charity Okeke from Orumba North, Mrs. Peace Aniechina from Ugbenu, Mr. Ifeanyi Nweeke from Achalla and Sunday Ezeigwe from Idemili North L.G.A.

They in their separate remark decried the promise and fail attitude of the political farmers.

ADP HOLDS ONE DAY TRAINING ON AGRONOMIC PRACTICES

24.ADP HOLDS ONE DAY TRAINING ON AGRONOMIC PRACTICES.

IFEOMA ANIAGADO

Anambra State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in conjunction with IFAD VALUE Chain Development Programme (VCDP) have held one day pre /post season training on good Agronomic practices of Rice and Cassava production / processing for VCDP farmers, Liaison officers, Extension agents and other Stakeholders on Tuesday 11th April, 2017.

Addressing the trainers at ADP conference hall Awka, the Programme Manager (PM),      ADP Mr. Jude Nwankwo stated that the training was for people in various areas of agriculture in order to get them prepared for the great task ahead. He also called on the farmers in various agricultural zones in the State to listen attentively to the lecture and pass on what they have learnt to others to practice for more efficiency, adding that ADP and Ministry of Agriculture are working as a team to take Agriculture to greater height.

Also speaking the SPC value Chain Mr. Nnamdi Agwuncha who was represented by Mr. James Mozie said that the essence of the training to the farmer was to reduce the cost of production of any seed and also to prepare them for any eventualities

Contribution to the meeting, a resource person on cassava Mr. Samuel Ozoemena stated that cassava grows everywhere as long as it’s giving what it takes to yield, adding that a virgin land is what is most needed for its cultivation. He also said that cassava is rich in carbohydrate which is important to the body. Mr. Ozoemena also throws more light on the land preparation, cassava cutting, selection of planting materials, and soil test.

However, Mr. Emmanuel Chukwukelue who took them on ‘’Rice Production Technology’’ said that rice production is done in a muddy place so that it will give farmers its desired yield adding that good retention capacity land is also a plus to its production. He noted that poverty will soon be a thing of the past if farmers will endeavour to practice what they learnt from the programme .

In his closing remarks, a Desk Officer Mr. Godwin Akujieze said that the aim of the training is to prepare farmers for abundant harvest this year, adding that the training will also give them the opportunity to know and learn the new/best method of farming and also advise the farmers. He charged the farmers to listen attentively and make use of what they learnt.

FISH STAKEHOLDERS EMBARK ON MASSIVE RE-ENGINEERING PROCESS OF THE INDUSTRY

25.FISH STAKEHOLDERS EMBARK ON MASSIVE RE-ENGINEERING PROCESS OF THE INDUSTRY.

By Obiageli Nwankwo

The wind of revolution sweeping Anambra agricultural sector have moved to the fish industry as stakeholders across the value chain of the industry rise up to the challenge of re-engineering the sector for optimal performance.

The Special Assistant to the Governor on Fishery, Mr Emeka Iloghalu while speaking to about 30 fish farmers ,that converged at the conference held at the Ministry of Agriculture, ADP complex Awka revealed that time has come for a change in the orientation and business implementation in the sector as a huge untapped market for fish exists in the state.

According to Mr Iloghalu, ‘’most fish producers go into the business without a detailed business plan, hence no specification on input and expected output, resulting in lack of focus and low yield at the end’’.

The Special Assistant opined further that re-engineering process is targeted at bringing a change of orientation among fish farmers through sensitization and training programmes, to enable them start producing fish gradually on monthly basis, adding that this would lead to shift from the old trend of massive production of fish once every 3 months or 6 months.

He also stated that the state is set to restructure and tap into the market by encouraging already existing fishery projects and also reviving abandoned ones.

In furtherance to this, Mr Iloghalu disclosed that the Present administration has signed a MOU with Vita feeds through the Value Chain Innovation Platform for production of starter feeds for the state on a consistent basis and at stable pricing, adding that presently, the state has taken delivery of the first consignment of 2500 feeds from Vita feeds.

This he opined will ameliorate the dearth and high cost of fish feed presently facing small and medium farmers.

A stakeholder, Mr Okezie Ohanekwu, State Secretary of Catfish farmers Association of Nigeria, CAFAN, Anambra chapter, while commending the present administration on its effort to re-organize the fish sector called for massive sensitization and englightment programmes to enhance sustainability in the field.

In same vein, Comrade Ikechukwu Chucks, President of Nnewi youths Association for Agricultural Development and Master Degree holder on Fishery, stated the importance of involving the grass root fish producers through the appointment of local coordinators in various local government area to checkmate political farmer and also help the state achieve its vision of being the largest fish producing state in West Africa.

MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE REHABILITATES TRACTORS FOR 2017 FARMING SEASON

26.MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE REHABILITATES TRACTORS FOR 2017 FARMING SEASON.

By Mike Afah

Tractors and implements have been successfully rehabilitated by Anambra state Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization, processing and Export in readiness for the 2017 farming season operations.

The Director of Agric Engineering Services in the Ministry, Engr Anthony Chigbo who disclosed this, to the Press in his office stated that with the rehabilitation exercise, the Ministry would have enough tractors for the 2017 farming season.

Engr. Chigbo further stated that apart from the 10 tractors domiciled in the Ministry, about 100 tractors are available at the ANSG/E-force Tractor Base at Awkuzu, ready for the 2017 farming season operations.

Also, speaking, the Agric Engineer, in charge of field operations, Engr. Calistus Enedu said that the Engineering Company handling the servicing of the tractors, PICADELI International Agency has been working round the clock to ensure that all the tractors will be ready for 2017 operations, ‘’the company is seriously committed to ensuring that all our tractors are operational for the farming season’’ Enedu remarked.

Engr. Enedu further stated that the Department of Agric Engineering Services would triple its tractorization services to farmers this year adding that in 2016, the ministry covered 10,000 hectares and expects to cover 30,000 hectares of farmland this year.

He also disclosed that new tractor operators have been engaged in the ministry as approved by the State  Governor to enable the ministry meet the target for the year adding that every necessary arrangement has been made in order to meet the Governor’s mandate of maximizing agricultural production and achieving improved yield.

In his speech, the Manager of PICADELI International Agency, Mr. Ogonna Ikechukwu stated that the company has been working seriously to complete the rehabilitation of tractor fleet so as to get them ready for operations.

ANSG to Collaborate With NYSC for Youths Empowerment through Agriculture.

27.ANSG to Collaborate With NYSC for Youths Empowerment through Agriculture.

By Obiageli Nwankwo

The Commissioner of Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Hon. Afam Mbanefohas restated the commitment of the present administration to youth empowerment in order to achieve food security as well as job creation in the state.

The Commissioner made the remark during a courtesy visit paid to the Ministry of Agriculture, ADP Complex, Awka by the new State Coordinator of National Youths Service Corps, (NYSC), Anambra state, Mr.  E.O. Olawale.

Hon.Afam Mbanefo said that Anambra State will collaborate with NYSC, in refocusing the mindset of youths to agriculture through developing a workable model geared at bringing out the laudable benefits of agriculture by re-engineering agriculture as a viable business.

He revealed that the ministry has introduced various youths training programmes aimed at encouraging the youths through exposure to quick and easy way of making money from agriculture such as vegetable farming, stressing that the posting of major bulk of corpers to the Monitoring and Control Unit of the Ministry is a strategy which the state is using to ensure that youths are exposed to the fact that agriculture has moved from subsistence manual farming to Smart, Precise and Digital farming.

In his speech, the State Coordinator NYSC, Anambra State, Mr E. O. OLawale who described his visit as a fruitful deliberation, commended the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano for his friendly disposition to youths in Agriculture.

He further stated that the visit is to liaise with the state on ways of redirecting the youths back to agriculture and improve the agricultural sector in the state.

Mr. Olawale stated that in NYSC Scheme agriculture plays a pivotal role as a viable platform for engaging the youths productively and called for state assistance, in leasing of land for its agricultural purposes.

The Highlights of the visit was exchange of gifts between the Commissioner of Agriculture and the State Director of NYSC, Anambra State.