The Chairman of Amalgamated Enugu State Farmers Association, Romanus Eze, says government policies and investments in local rice production have increased patronage of the staple food.
The chairman said this in Enugu on Tuesday during a solidarity rally organised by the association in honour of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
He said that members of the association had benefited from the kind gesture of the state government which had direct impact on food production in the state.
The chairman said that there had been a substantial increase in agricultural output as over 65 per cent of rural dwellers in the state were farmers.
He said that the Adani Rice in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area had flooded markets in the state and beyond leading to reduction in prices of the product in the state. According to him, a bag of 50kg bag of local rice now sells for N14,000 as against N18,000 sold before.
He said that the patronage enjoyed by local rice in the state was massive, adding that it had become the mainstay of staple foods eaten in many homes.
He thanked the governor for his support to farmers including distribution of tractors to all the 17 local government areas of the state which he said aided farmers do their work.
He said that the governor also donated 45,000 bags of lime to improve soil fertility. Mr. Eze, however, pointed out that much still needed to be done in order to make agriculture attractive to the youths, adding that mechanized farming was the only way to go.
In an address, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Emeka Edeh, said that the rally was to showcase the potentials of farmers in the state as well as thank the governor for his support.
Mr. Edeh described the governor as a `good human resource manager’ who had shown outstanding attention to the sector. He said that a new vista of development was being injected in the sector owing to the resolve to liberalise agriculture for increased productivity.
In a goodwill message, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Augustine Nnamani, appealed to the farmers to register in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration so as to be eligible to vote during the coming polls.
Responding, Mr. Ugwuanyi said that he was overwhelmed by the massive turnout of farmers who had come to identify with him. The governor said that the event was the umpteenth time he was seeing such crowd drawn from farmers.
“The massive turnout is a clear testimony that you are happy with our modest efforts in the sector,” he said. Mr. Ugwuanyi said that his administration was packaging an empowerment progarmme to further encourage farmers across the state.