The Federal Government in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have presented equipment worth millions of Naira to some farmer groups in Anambra to boost rice and cassava production.
Some of the equipment distributed to the beneficiaries under the IFAD-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) are parboiling tank, dryer, parboiler, power tiller, seed planter and high performance ATAT thresher.
Other equipment, included small thresher, stainless manual fryer, manual press, 32ton jack, mechanical peeler/sieving machine/stainless grater and manual uprooter, among others.
Presenting the items in Awka on Friday, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Afam Mbanefo, said the gesture was a big success toward mechanisation of food and food security in the country.
Mbanefo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ngozi Onu, said the equipment would minimise labour as well as encourage others who were yet to embrace farming.
The State Programme Coordinator of VCDP, Emmanuel Aguncha, said the equipment were meant to add value to rice and cassava enterprise in the state.
Aguncha explained that each farmer group paid 30 per cent of the actual amount for the equipment, while FG/IFAD and the state government contributed the remaining 70 per cent.
“The emphasis is that you should put these facilities to good use, guard them jealously and ensure that they grow to profits.
“We will continue to train you on how to use and maintain these equipment,” he said.
Peter Emeka, a beneficiary from Rainbow Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Omor, commended the government and VCDP for the gesture, assuring that the equipment would be put to good use.
“The farmers are very happy because it has never been like this for us.
“I want to assure you that we will not disappoint you; what you did for the farmers cannot be estimated because the knowledge you have given to us will help improve agriculture.
“One testimony is that farmers are smiling because the harvest has continued to double from what it used to be,” Emeka said.
He assured that the equipment would be judiciously and effectively utilised.
Also, Benedict Imeh from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, expressed confidence that the equipment would help foster development in the agricultural sector.
“I want to plead with the Federal Government to allow the programme to continue, so that other farmers who are highly productive but incapacitated can benefit,” Ime said.