By Chukwuemeka Opara
Abakaliki, Aug. 10, 2019 (ÑAN) International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has urged rice and cassava processors in Ebonyi to adopt high processing standards.
Mr Sunday Ituma, IFAD–VCDP State Project Coordinator (SPC), said this on Saturday in Abakaliki, during a sensitisation training on hygiene, food safety and environmental sanitation, organised for operators of three processing centres.
The centre’s are two for rice and one for cassava.
Ituma said the move would assist them meet standard requirements of regulatory agencies such as the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) among others.
“The processing centres include the Abakaliki Rice Mill and Omege Rice Mill in Ikwo LGA as well as the Ofunneka Cassava processing centre in Afikpo South Local Government Area.
“IFAD–VCDP identifies that personal hygiene, environmental cleanliness and safety are the key components that the regulatory authorities require to certify processing outfits.
“We, therefore, organised the training to make processors be abreast of these regulations, to get adequate specifications for the produce they will showcase to the public,” he said.
The SPC noted that the programme discovered that the production standard of processors was low which limited their income generation capacity.
“We would, therefore, enlighten them to overcome local standards, meet internationally set-ones to get NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies’ specifications.”
He noted that the processors would soon take ownership of processing mills as they had been trained on operations and maintenance of the machines.
“The rice iill in Iboko, Izzi LGA for instance will be operated under the auspices of the Abakaliki rice mill and they will however, sign a Memorandum of Understating (MOU) with us.
“This will specify the roles and responsibilities of all parties and they may not operate the mills directly but lease to people who are willing,” he said.
Mrs Fransisca Anya, the IFAD–VCDP Rural Institution Gender Youth Mainstreaming Officer (RIGYMO) in the state noted that quality was important to the image of every organisation and such necessitated the training.
“The processors have also been trained on how to generate work plans which they have submitted to the IFAD-VCD office and this will enable us to know those who are practicing what they have been taught.
Mr James Onoh, a processor with the Abakaliki rice mill, thanked IFAD-VCDP for the programme and stated that they had learnt how to keep their processing centres clean and package their produce with high standard.
Nigeria News Agency reports that a representative of NAFDAC and officials of IFAD-VCDP Ebonyi office offered tutorials to processors on general hygiene and safety practices.
River basin to create farm settlement in Auchi for food sufficiency
“Songhai farming is the best model of farming and I urge many Nigerians to embrace the model of agriculture from Auchi experience,” he said.
YIIFSWA, IITA sensitise 50 Edo yam farmers on new technology
The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA ll) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday held a sensitisation forum on Aerophonics system of seed yam production for 50 yam farmers in Edo.
Mrs Perpetual Isiahon, Head of YIIFSWA, said that the programme was initiated to set a new tone for yam value chain in the state.
“Our task at this forum is to access the economic benefits of yam value chain, while using it as an initiative for the attainment of food security in Edo.
“The purpose of this forum is to sensitise participants on new technologies in producing seed yam and developing a better understanding of existing methods.
“It is also to expose participants to different products they can get from yam for income generation through its value chain,” she said.
Isiahon urged yam farmers in the state to key into the project and invest more on yam value chain for wealth creation.
She also called on the state government to assist in establishing new seed yam production companies in the state.
She said that a budget for yam in Edo would also encourage the production of yam.
In a speech, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Mr Felix Akhabue, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Joe Edionwe, said that Nigeria had a high demand for yam as a staple food.
Edionwe regretted that yam production in Nigeria was not enough to meet the growing local and export demands, hence the need for new technologies in seed yam multiplication and production.
He said that the realisation of the goal would, no doubt, facilitate wealth creation and empowerment in the yam value chain.
Akhabue pledged government’s support to collaborate with critical stakeholders to ensure that yam farmers and Edo people benefited immensely from the project.
Mr Wellington Omoragbon, state Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), commended the initiative and urged the farmers to take the message to their communities.
Omoragbon said the one-day advocacy and sensitisation forum, tagged “Sustainable production of high quality seed yam for wealth creation and empowerment”, was organised by IITA, in collaboration with Root and Tuber Division of FMARD.
1,300 rice farmers receive input for dry season farming in Delta–RIFAN
Mr Anthony Umunna, Delta Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) said that no fewer than 1,300 registered members of the association in the state have received inputs for dry season farming.
Umunna said though members received the inputs; paddy rice, herbicides, water pumps among others for the year’s dry season farming, they might not be able to plant until about September ending when the rains would have subsided.
He said that there was need for a review of the farming calendar between the northern and southern parts of Nigeria to enable timely release of inputs to farmers because of the difference in weather conditions.
According to Umunna, the quest for the release of the inputs have been on since to enable farmers in the south engage in this year’s dry season farming.
“As at today, 1,300 registered rice farmers in Delta have received paddy rice, herbicides, and water pumping machines among other inputs for 2019 dry season farming.
“In spite of our efforts, the inputs came late and as our farmers will have to wait till the end of September for the rains to subside before planting.
“This is why we are appealing to government for timely release of the inputs to enable our farmers work with the seasonal timetable and key into the dry season farming and that of the wet seasons farming appropriately,’’ he said.
He appealed to the farmers not to lose their patience as everything possible was being done by the association to ensure that all registered rice farmers benefited from the CBN-RIFAN Anchor Borrowers Scheme aimed at boosting rice production in Nigeria.
He also called on all the South-South governors to support the programme and ensure that farmers in the area got full benefits, adding that the programme would not only create jobs but also boost the economy and create wealth.
NAN reports that the programme is part of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme in Partnership with RIFAN to boost rice production in the country.
Foundation lists how youths can explore goldmine in agriculture
By Cecilia Ijuo