Anambra State Exported 121 Tonnes Of Agro Products In 12 Months

By IfeanyiChukwu Afuba

Anambra State exported 121 metric tonnes of vegetables, snail and Africa oil bean (ukpaka) in the past 12 months.

State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nonamdi Onukwuba made the disclosure at a media interface at the State Secretariat Awka.

Onukwuba stated that the food export programme of the Willie Obiano administration had come to stay, with more companies joining the international food trade.

"Tiger Foods has exported 189 metric tonnes of agro products. Kisno Food has exported 120 metric tonnes of yam.'

Updating on the yam export, he explained that following feedback, a new species has been introduced to meet market expectations.

'We got white texture yam from Benue State and domesticated it. At our seed farm at Igbariam, we multiplied the species and gave them out to outgrowers.'

L-R:James Eze (Chief Press Secretary to the Governor), Mr Nonamdi Onukwuba (Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture), Emeka Ozumba (Deputy Chief Press Secretary to the Governor)

Tracing the genesis of the State's agro commerce, Onukwuba said Governor Willie Obiano decided to go a step or two further beyond providing enabling environment for agriculture because of the State's poor position in food production.

'In 2014, our agricultural production was very low. His Excellency saw that the capacity of the actors in the sector was very limited.'

'We made available tractors to develop more areas of cultivation. The Ministry went into inputs processing to reduce production cost of farmers. We imparted improved methods and techniques to farmers. And Government signed MOU with some big scale farms.'

Hon Onukwuba said the efforts paid off, citing rice and cassava harvest which shot from 80, 000 to 345, 000 metric tonnes and 15, 324 to nearly 2, 000, 000 metric tonnes respectively. The Commissioner stated that over 5, 000 growers are currently engaged in commercial vegetable production.

He expressed delight that the initial challenge of preservation encountered when the export initiative started with Grafil Nig Ltd has been overcome with the acquisition of a refrigerated truck.

To sustain the agric revolution, Onukwuba informed that the State had placed emphasis on dry season farming. To this end, registered farmers are being assisted with irrigation pumps.

Towards averting losses occasioned by flooding, Onukwuba said the State strives to achieve early planting and early harvesting before the deluge sets in.

'If you recall, Obiano was the first among the Governors to flag off this year's farming season.'

The honorable Commissioner disclosed that the Obiano administration was working hard to revive another potential export produce, the oil palm industry.

'We've asked communities to donate land for oil palm. Those that have responded, we've given the seedlings to plant. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University will also be involved. We're in the process of establishing an oil palm agency that will outlive this administration.'