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AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE

5,104 dry season farmers in Enugu benefit from ATASP water pumps

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No fewer than 5,104 dry season farmers in Enugu State have benefited from the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase One (ATASP-1) water pumps for dry season irrigation farming.

The 5,104 dry season farmers in Enugu State within 52 farming clusters (or farming cooperatives) are within the Adani and Omor farming zone.

Presenting the 52 water pumping machines on Wednesday in Enugu, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro Industrialisation, Mr Patrick Ubru, said that the gesture was just the first step of ensuring that Enugu State become the hub of food production in the country.

Ubru said that the Gov. Peter Mbah-led administration had resolved to support farmers and subsidize every effort to ensure food production and quality value-chain addition on farm produce in the state.

“More gestures to ensure you succeed is coming even as we are going to distribute inputs very soon and give real-time guidance and supervision to ensure you get it right.

“We want you to utilize all you have learnt in terms of good agronomy practices from ATASP for you to increase your yield this season as the state government has a target of one million metric tons of rice.

“So, we are looking at you people producing at last five tons per hectare of rice. As, a state that has its own rice brand, we (state government) will off-take all you produce and process.

“For those producing improved maize variety, our poultry farmers are already waiting to buy any maize produced in the state and the headache of the market for your produce had been taken off you,” he said.

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The commissioner assured the farmers that tractors would be rolled out in the state very soon to make their farming easier and they cover more hectures or land mass.

“The state government through the initiative of our amiable governor will be providing you people with tractors that will improve your farming work, make it easier and make expansion highly possible.

“We have a talk-and-do governor, who have taken the pain to already conclude arrangement of providing tactors to farmers in the state. Our tractors are on the way and will be available very soon,” he said.

Speaking, Dr Romanus Egba, the Programme Coordinator, ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Staple Crops Implementation Zone, commended the governor for paying the state’s counterpart fund for the programme.

“It is due to the state participating actively in the programme through counterpart fund payment, we are opportune to receive these water pumping machines and other beneficial gestures to come soon.

“So, ATASP-1 is packaging this dry seasoning farming with about 5,104 dry season farmers in Enugu State, who are into rice and maize production. It will be a farmer per hectare of farmland.

“We are also thanking His Excellence, agriculture-friendly Gov. Peter Mbah for putting huge support and subsidy in agriculture, its value-chain and entire food production exercise in the state,” he said.

The programme coordinator also urged the farmers to ensure that they are active in the ATASP WhatsApp group platform to receive vital messages, get clear guidance, interact with other farmers, raise questions and complaints if need be.

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“ATASP officials will actively monitor, supervise and guide the farmers though the WhatsApp group and practically visit to farms often. We will support the farmers and their various cluster groups to succeed,” he assured.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr Titus Ugwu, thanked ATASP-1, Gov. Mbah and the state Ministry of Agriculture for their overwhelming support to their farming activities.

“As a rice farmer, this solar-powered water pumping machine will give adequate irrigation to my rice farm and definitely lead to increase in yield and better harvest,” Ugwu said.

Another beneficiary, Mrs Eunice Okafor, appreciated ATASP for given genuine support to farmers in terms of agronomy training, providing improved seedlings and inputs as well as this solar-powered water pumping machine.

The water pumps distributed included: 40 solar-powered and 12 petrol-powered easy-to-use water pumping machines.

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