By Francis Ekpone
Farmers in Anambra state have expressed gratitude to the federal government of Nigeria over the new agronomical practices in rice production recently introduced by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme, phase one (ATASP-1) in the area.
The programme is developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the African Development Bank with the aim of attracting private sector investments in agriculture, increase farm productivity of staple crops of rice, cassava and sorghum and add value to local agricultural produce.
Expressing their gratitude yesterday at Omor in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra state, during the 2017 farmers’ field day, organised by the Africarice Research Associate, Adani-Omor Stable Crop Processing zone, the farmers appreciated the programme, which according to them, increased their yield and made them generate more income to their households.
While sharing his field experience, one of the farmers, Mr. Joseph Udooganyara Anaekwe said his cooperative embarked on dry season rice farming with ATASP-1 providing bunds and canal construction, fertility management, weed and disease management among other assistance that helped witnessed bumper harvest.
“They also gave us fertilizers and chemicals that made us witntnessed more yield and i made over N350,000 net profit from this years farming season which makes me confortable” he said.
Gloria udemezue and Agu Sylvester, in their seperare speeches also commended the new agro practice of supplying seedlings to farmers, supervising the whole excercise and connecting farmers to off takers.
Earlier, the Research Associate africarice, Mr. Abraham Ogwu said noted that farmers field day, which he said started last year was to demonstrate the cultivation of Africarice which farmer chose based on their ecology, adding that the farmers underwent training and adopted the innovations that resulted to high yield.
The zonal outreach specialist, ATASP 1, Adani-Omor Steple Crop Processing zone, Chief Emmanuel Udeh, said the overall essence of the programme is to make farmers important in the society by solving the barriers that hinder their yield.
“The post harvest losses and farmers producing without selling which further impoverishes the farmer is the major concern of this programme. ATASP wants to ensure that farmers leave comfortably in the society and we are doing this trying to ensure that we provide basic infrastructure and social amenities.
“We are also building market, health centre and renovating schools for them to ensure that they take good care of themselves and their children attend good schools”