Awka-Anambra State has so far exported not less than 121 metric tonnes of vegetables, snail and Africa oil bean (Ukpaka) in the past 12 months.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba made the disclosure during a `Meet The Media’, a weekly media interface initiated by the Governor’s Media Group and held at the State’s Secretariat Awka.
Onukwuba explained 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 exported 120 metric tonnes of yams.’’
On yam export, he explained that following feedback, a new species has been introduced to meet market expectations.
“We got some white texture yams from Benue State and domesticated it. At our seed farm at Igbariam, we multiplied the species and gave them out to out growers.’’
Tracing the genesis of the State’s agro commerce, Onukwuba said Gov. Obiano decided to go a step or two further beyond providing the enabling environment for agriculture because of the State’s poor position in food production.
“In 2014, our agricultural production was very low. The Governor, then, 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 an MOU with some big scale farms.’’
Mr 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 then said that no fewer than 5, 000 growers were 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 an acquisition of a refrigerated truck.
To sustain the agric revolution, Onukwuba informed that the state had since placed emphasis on dry season farming. “to this end, registered farmers are being assisted with irrigation pumps’’.
Mr Onukwuba explained that toward averting losses occasioned by flooding, the state had been striving to achieve early planting and early harvesting before coming of the heavy rains.
“If you recall, Obiano was the first among the Governors to flag off this year’s farming season.’’
The commissioner disclosed that the Obiano administration was working hard to revive another potential export product — the oil palm industry.
“We’ve asked communities to donate land for oil palm. Those that have responded, we’ve given them the seedlings to plant.
“The Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) will also be involved. We’re in the process of establishing an oil palm agency that will outlive this administration.’’
Source: Anambra State Government