The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ebonyi State, Chief Moses Nomeh has charged farmers to take advantage of the benefits inherent in the Agricultural sector and engage in large scale commercial ventures.
The Commissioner stated this during the flag off of a three day workshop organized by AfricaRice on Zero Hunger Project in collaboration with IFAD-VCDP to Rice Farmers and Extension Agents at Geneza Hotels, Abakaliki.
According to Nomeh, Ebonyi State is now the highest rice producer in the whole country with four million metric tons production from the statistical data sent to Ebonyi State from the Federal Ministry of trade and Investment.
He said that the knowledge of good agronomic practices ( GAP) was the most important foundation to good production.
The Agric Commissioner advised the farmers to pay attention to understand the quality of what to produce in order to meet International standard in the World trade market, ranging from land preparation, transplating, weeding, Post Harvesting, packaging, Storage and sales.
He applauded the effort of Governor David Nweze Umahi in reaching out to Farmers through input distribution in the current farming season and expressed optimism that all the beneficiaries would have a bountiful harvest that will boost food security in Ebonyi State.
He assured the team of the State Government’s support in the fulfilment of the Zero Hunger Project in the State.
Also speaking, the Coordinator IFAD-VCDP, Mr. Sunday Ituma commended Ebonyi State Government for supporting farmers of the State through his office and further explained that Zero Hunger Project was a project designed to end hunger in the entire country.
‘It is only few States that are benefiting from Zero Hunger Project for which Ebonyi State happened to be one.”
He added that the beneficiaries were being selected, two persons per six participanting Local Government Areas, which include Abakaliki, Ikwo, Ezza North, Ohaozara, Ohaukwu and Onicha of Ebonyi State.
The participants are to be trained as “train the trainers” who will go back to ensure that farmers in their rural areas are captured and trained on good agronomic practices in rice production in the state.
The team leader of Zero Hunger Project from AfricaRice, Dr. Francis Nwileni stated that the enphasis of the training is designed to ensure that qaulity seeds that can compete with international standard are been produced in Ebonyi State.
He encouraged the participants to ensure that after the training, rice production in the state become intensified in other to inprove the income of all the farmers that will proceed to the farms to practice what they had learnt.
Presentation of the results of the Training Needs Assessment Survey and Validation of Result by Extension Officers were also carried out.
Those in attendance in the event were the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Ritamary Okoro, Mr. Ituma Sunday, IFAD-VCDP Coordinator Ebonyi State,Team Leader of Zero Hunger Project AfricaRice, Dr. Francis Nwilene, Dr. Abraham Shaibu and Mr Abraham Ogwu of Zero Hunger Research Associate, resource persons on Good Agronomic Practices, Dr. Samuel Bakare, Resources person on Rice Advice Digital Tool for Fertilizer Optimization for Increase Yeild, Extension Officers as well as the selected farmers.