By Alex Enebeli
Gov. Peter Mbah of Enugu State, on Thursday, inaugurated 15 World Bank assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), Project in Enugu to enhance food production in the state.
The project include 15 number Aggregation and Cottage Processing Centres in cashew, rice and poultry spread across the three senatorial zones of the state as well as 10 energy installations
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that APPEALS Project is a six-year project developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the World Bank and other stakeholders to assist rural farmers.
Speaking at the event which took place at Nara Rice Processing Centre in Nkanu East Council Area, Mbah 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 within the next four years,
Mbah, 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 centre 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-entreprenuers among women, youths and people with disabilities.
“Many farmers 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 Centres in cashew, rice and poultry farmers.
“The centres include Nara, Adani, Ngwo, Orba, Aguobuowa, Amechi, Ikpa Market-Nsukka, Udi, Eha-Amufu, Oduma and Akwarri in Eha-Alumona,” the governor stressed.
In a welcome address, the APPEALS Project Coordinator, Enugu State, Mrs Ihuoma Eze, said the project had made meaningful contributions in the lives of farmers across the state directly prioritizing the needs of women and youths who were into agriculture and entrepreneurship.
She stated that the Aggregation and Processing Centres had been equipped with all the required value chain machineries for optimum operation.
Eze said that the Rice Aggregation and Processing Centres 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 Centres include paddy precleaner, paddy grader, parboiling/soaking vessels, stream boiler, platform dryers, rice dehusker, rice and 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 Centres 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 is worth 19.4 US dollars since its inception in 2019 till date”, adding that the project which ended in Sept. has met its project development objectives.
“It is our earnest prayer that the 15 number of aggregation and cottage processing centre 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.
On their parts, the Nkanu East Local Government boss and chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Mr Okechukwu Edeh, and Mr Chukwudi Ozoeluba of Ezeagu Council Area extolled the project, saying it came at the right time for the people of the state.
They pledged to ensure adequate security of the facilities and ensure the centres were productive and sustained.
Igwe Ifeanyi Ogbu of Nara Unateze Kingdom, while commending Mbah, promised to ensure judicious use of the centre for transformative agricultural policy of his administration.
He equally seek Mbah’s intervention on water infrastructure, irrigation, electricity, provision of security and technical intervention.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Maureen Atuonwu