Food Security: Enugu To Hold Agric Expo In December, Promises To Sustain Gains Of FG/IFAD-VCDP

Enugu State Government is to organize an Agric Expo in December, 2022 to lead a conversation on the economic benefits of sustainable agriculture value-chain as an alternative source of economic development and foreign exchange through export.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, stated this in a message to the launch of the Commodity Fairs for Value Chain Operators of the Federal Government of Nigeria, International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme (FGN/IFAD/VCDP) held recently in Enugu.

The Governor was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Enugu, Dr. Mathew Iduh, who said the state is 95 per cent agriculture, and has all it takes with good fertile soil to feed its citizens.

Dr. Idu, who explained that the expo would give the state opportunity to show to the world the impact of government investment in agriculture, said the agric expo was geared to drive discourse that would promote sustainable agriculture, while creating avenues for growth and increased per capita income in the larger economy.

“This is a mini expo, what I intend to have in December is macro. This is only IFAD-VCDP, we’ve Agro-Processing and Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project.

“We’ve other farmers in Enugu State that are producing so many things that people don’t know anything about. We’re going to involve all of them, to come and do an Expo, to come and showcase what they have to people so that people will know that in Enugu State, you can get so many things,” he said.

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The Agric Commisioner commended the farmers for making judicious use of all the support and equipment provided for them, adding that the impact on the lives of the rural poor and vulnerable had been enormous.

Dr. Idu expressed satisfaction with what IFAD-VCDP was doing in the state, saying that the project “is so dear to the Governor’s heart,” a project he would recommend to any government any time.

He promised to sustain the achievements of the Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme (FG/IFAD-VCDP) when the programme ends.

Earlier, the Programme Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Enugu State, Dr. Edward Isiwu, said within two years the programme commenced officially in Enugu, it had expended over #700,000,000.00 (seven hundred million naira) giving out mechinaries, provision of basic infrastructure, construction of model rice processing mills, development of forest lands for growing of rice, providing mechinaries, market stalls, bore holes and water pumping machines to farmers in the 5 select Local Government Areas.

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Dr. Isiwu said the commodity fairs was to assess the progress the farmers had made with the materials that were provided to them.

“What we’re doing here is that, in 2021 ending, we gave some farmers from Aninri, Isiuzo, Enugu East, Nkanu East, and Udenu LGAs some agricultural commodity of rice and cassava, and so we told them that after growing that for one year, they will come and show us what they’ve produced, we call it IFAD-VCDP agricultural show.

“So all the local government areas came here to showcase their products, some of them were given rice seeds, they came here with a lot of processed rice, because we gave them equipment to process the rice.

“Some of them came here with cassava, multipled into various value chains, some of them came with cake produced from cassava; chichin produced from cassava; all sorts of confectioneries, biscuits, bread that they produced from cassava.

“They came with cassava tubers, stems, a lot of products like fufu, certified cassava flour, same with rice, they did a lot of confectioneries with rice.

“We gave them vitamin C cassava, a lot of fruits, plantains, bananas, citrus and all that, we gave them local chicken, so they’ve come to tell us how they have fared.

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“They brought some of those products for us to see so that more will be given to them. The five LGAs have made me proud, as the state coordinator, and they have shown me everything that I had given to them, they didn’t go waste it, they did not go sell it.” he said proudly.

Some of the farmers, who spoke with newsmen, thanked IFAD-VCDP for the intervention.

At the end of the expo, Nkanu East came 5th with cash prize of N20,000.000; Isi Uzo LGA came 4th with, 25,000.00; Enugu East clinched the 3rd position with 30,000.00; Udenu got 2nd; 50, 000.00 and Aninri 1st with 100, 000.00