Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Ecological disaster shutdown Anambra bitter-leaf farms

By Okechukwu Onuegbu
Image result for anambra bitter leaf farms

The people of Oraukwu in Idemili north Local Government Area of Anambra State have solicited for intervention of the federal government and international agencies to end the ecological problems threatening their homes, bitter-leaf farms and economic trees since past four years.
The community bemoaned that for over four years gully erosion and flooding submerged most parts of their land and rendered homes and farmlands useless, little or nothing have been done to compensate the victims.  
According to Pat Okonkwo, the Publicity Secretary to Traditional Ruler of Oraukwu, HRH Igwe Barr. Dr. Emeka Onuorah (Igwe Chinyelueze II), the community is renowned for bitter-leaf farming, processing and exportation but the ecological problem put a hold in the business.
“We are known as major producer and exporter of Onugbu (bitter-leaf) in the whole Africa. Every Oraukwu man or woman owns bitter-leaf farm. Governor Willie Obiano is proud of us because of that. We produce onugbu in commercial quantities and always export them to Europe. Bitter leaf is our major economy and source of income.
“But flood and gully erosion is threatening our economy. We are in danger. Billions have been lost to it. I can still remember two women killed by the ecological problems. Also, onugbu farms, economic trees, machines and other implements used for farming and processing bitter leaf were lost to gully.”
Also speaking, Ichie Patrick Ndubuaku, a community leader and member of Oraukwu royal palace, decried that Oraukwu currently lives in fear and danger due to erosion menace.
Hear him, “Nobody had return to site where bitter leaf is cultivated and processed in our land since hectares of lands, irrigation machines and other mechanised bitter leaf farming implements were buried in the ground.
“Senator Chris Ngige, the current minister of labour and productivity, who was then representing Anambra Central Senatorial Zone visited the site with some federal government officials and promised that something would be done to compensate the victims and resuscitate the industry. But nothing has been done to that effect till date.

“We are calling on government to come to our rescue now. Bitter leaf is our major economy and we are not happy that we are longer blazing the trail in the sector. The ministry involved should quickly come to our rescue before erosion and flood send us to exile.”



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