By Raymond Benson (SKMCO, Abia State)
The Abia Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises, Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), one of the nine Niger Delta states of the region, participated in the recent National Agricultural Show and World Food Day held in Nassarawa State.
Commenting on Abia LIFE-ND’s presence in the event, the State Project Coordinator, Uchenna Rowland Onyeizu,Ph.D, lauded the State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for his support in the project, through prompt payment of counterpart fund‐ a requisite condition for inclusion in the Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development, (IFAD), and Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), initiated project.
He remarked the Governor had since inception of his tenure, exhibited strong commitment in providing employment and food security through many agricultural programmes in the state.
Also speaking on the Abia LIFE-ND participation in the event, the head of the 3-man team that represented the Project, the State Rural Institutions, Youth and Gender Officer, Deacon Anthony Nwaobilor, was also full of praise of the Governor for his giant agricultural strides in the state.
“You know when Dr. Ikpeazu keep talking about Abia in agriculture, it led to the establishment of agribusiness enterprises like Osikapa Abia in Ahamba Uzoakoli, Bende LGA. It’s this brand of Osikapa rice that we came with and people are marvelled at the quality,” he said.
Analysing LIFE-ND representation in the Show, Deacon Nwaobilor said it was a “huge success”, noting that Abia LIFE-ND was a “tourist attraction” of sorts, “where everybody comes to look at our stand” to see exotic species of brahma birds, smoked chicken, paddy and processed rice of high quality.
Deacon Nwaobilor also commended the strategic planning and initiative of the State Coordinator, Uchenna Onyeizu Ph.D, to make the representation a success, adding that more commodities like, garri, odourless fufu, casssava flour, oil palm and their various value chains would be showcased in the Show next year.
Similarly, the State Knowledge Management and Communication Officer, (SKMCO) of Cross River State, Mr. Christian Friday Ekpor, commended the quality of representation exhibited by four LIFE-ND participating states of the region, noting that the achievement of IFAD objectives in the project is the sure way of “coming out of poverty and providing employment” in the region.
In the Project, Abia State commodity comparative advantage are, poultry, rice, cassava production and oil palm including their processing and marketing.
The 5‐day Show which is an annual event began on October 11‐ 15, 2021, was titled, “Celebrating the Resilience and Roles of Small‐holder Farmers in Sustaining Food Systems in Nigeria”.
Dignitaries present at event include, President Mohammed Buhari, represented by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar, Governor of Nassarawa State, Abdullahi and the Chairman, Board of Trustees, National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria, (NAFN), Senator, Abdullahi Adamu, among others.