Friday, 24 February 2017

FADAMA III Partners Anambra NUJ on mechanised agriculture

Image result for pictures of Anambra NUJ chairman
By Okechukwu Onuegbu
A-one day sensitisation workshop for media practitioners in Anambra State organised by the state FADAMA III coordinating office in-conjunction with the State Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing& Export has ended in Awka with a call for the media and government partnership to sensitise the public on numerous agricultural opportunities that could better their lives.
Speaking at the workshop, the Anambra State Commissioner of Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing & Export, Afam Mbanefo explained that FADAMA III which is a World Bank/federal government programme run in partnership with the state government, has executed numerous projects including construction of feeder roads, irrigation, training and empowerment of farmers to adapt to mechanised agriculture.
Mbanefo, who was represented at the occasion by a permanent secretary in the ministry, Ngozi Onu, bemoaned that these projects were often under reported, and appealed for media support to make them known because according to him, it would help the rural dwellers to invest at home, thereby reducing rural to urban migration to a barest minimum.
On his part, the Anambra State Fadama III Additional Financing (AF) Project Coordinator, Egbue Chukwuka Patrick, while presenting the project overview, success and challenges, revealed that their targets have been 8 local government areas of Anambra East and West, Ayamelum, Ogbaru, Ihiala, Orumba North and South, and Awka north.
According to Egbue, the World Bank had sent them appreciation letter for fulfilling their projects, and the state government on its full support and partnership to achieving feats on rice, cassava and tomatoes productions, improvement of farmers’ livelihood and incomes, provision of irrigation, training and empowerment of farmers on agronomical practices.
He said that these FADAMA III focus had metamorphosed to improved food security, food sufficiency and exportation, which were in tandem to Governor Willie Obiano’s four pillars of economic development.
“We have over 78 youths and numerous organisations registered. We have trained people on business plan, capacity building and technology transfer. This brings out streamlined sales in food produce like Anambra rice. We are also constructing 13 feeder roads across 4 local government areas at cost of N351, 968, 329.80. We are working on irrigation at the cost of N97, 553, 835.18. In the year that ended, we hired agricultural equipment at N10, 431, 950.00.  This year, the state government FADAMA III estimate is N56, 355, 296.00” he said.
On challenges they have encountered so far, Egbue said they include increase in price of agricultural inputs, flood in some part of the farmland caused by some President General to step down implementation, community conflicts affecting civil works at various communities.
“Others are inaccessibility of sites at places like Ubahuekwem, Ihiala due to poor state of linking road to the site and limited development farm lands for production. Lesser affair attitude of farmers to adopt best practices. We need media to help us sensitize communities to understand what FADAMA is doing to avoid the land dispute and other issues our people sometime face with them” the State FADAMA III coordinator pointed out.
Delivering a paper entitled “The role of journalists in Agriculture Communication: Framework for strategic media partnership” the National FADAMA III Coordinating Office media consultant, Tunde Oladunjoye, called on the government to lessen the cost for obtaining license for operation of community radio as it will help FADAMA and others to reach out to people at hinterland.
Oladunjoye also called on the government, ministries, agencies and parastatals to strike cooperation with the media practitioners through initiation of facility tours, and other one-on-relationship with reporters and media heads.
Nkiru Nwamou, a PhD holder and senior lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, in her lecture entitled “the role of journalists in agriculture communication: emphasis on FADAMA III-AF” urged journalists and media proprietors to invest more on developmental journalism using traditional, online and other media platforms to reach their global audience.
Speaking in a vote of thanks, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State Council, Emmanuel Ifesinachi, thanked FADAMA and World Bank on their thought out policies, and assured that his colleagues were ever ready to join them to realise their dreams.

The workshop was attended by head of media houses, reporters across media houses, and NUJ executive.

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