Adani modern rice market inaugurated as farmers, traders commend efforts
Rice farmers and traders operating at the Ada Rice Irrigation Project in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State commended the efforts as the ultramodern market constructed by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program –Phase One (ATASP-1) was commissioned and handed over to the community.
Speaking during a brief hand-over ceremony, ATASP-1’s National Programme Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Arabi, expressed delight that ATASP-1, a Federal Government special agric intervention initiative, had fulfilled the yearnings of farmers and dealers in Adani.
Arabi, represented by the National Agriculture Specialist, Mr Adekunle Alege, called for proper use of the facilities to ensure that the ultimate goal of the Federal Government to invest in infrastructure projects and programmes in the community was realized.
He said: “These projects are being financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group. It’s a loan to the Federal Government of Nigeria and grant to the participating states. So, it’s a low-hanging fruit for the state with zero financial contribution from the community.
‘’However, the state government is expected to provide counterpart contribution that will be used in payment of taxes and operating costs. So, what we expect from you is to make good use of it, maintain it so that ATASP can do more things for you.”
Zonal Programme Coordinator, ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Crops Processing Zone, Mr Romanus Egba, disclosed that ATASP-1 took up the modern market initiative as part of ongoing drive to restore the glory of Adani rice.
He said ATASP-1 undertook concrete lining of 22.4 km of the canal at the Ada Rice Irrigation Project, two span bridges across Obinna River with double surface coating of 63km feeder roads around the irrigation area, building of two classrooms block and motorized solar borehole in the community as well as empowering local farmers and other stakeholders along the value chain.
Egba, who was represented by the Zonal Outreach Specialist, Mr Emeka Ude, added: “Our desire is to transform Adani into a rice production hub by not only providing social and economic infrastructures but also empowering farmers and other stakeholders across the commodity value chain in modern rice farming techniques, processing and marketing. And we are doing all these things at zero cost to the communities. All we are asking for is that the local community, state and local government authorities give us their maximum support.’’
Also, the Zonal Gender and Social Development Specialist (ZGSDS), Mr Chinedu Ugwuta, warned that ATASP-1 would not be happy if the facilities provided to enhance marketing of rice in the area were not well utilised by the stakeholders.
“We want to notify you those ATASP-1 farmers, traders and other stakeholders must uphold the international standard and best practices at all times. Recently, we trained farmers, traders and processors from the community on weight and measurement because we don’t accept bushels style of measuring rice. We believe in using standard weight and measurement to sell rice so that customers would not be cheated in anyway. So, our expectation is that those operating under the new market must abide by this rule”, he said
Ugwuta also stressed the need for those operating in the Adani rice market to adopt ATASP-1 branding, packaging and marketing initiative. “We also expect ATASP-1 farmers and traders to key into the Adani branded rice initiative being championed by the program so that consumers will appreciate the quality of rice produce from the area and increase their patronage. We don’t want unbranded rice to be sold at the market. We want them to be sold in ‘Adani-Rice’ branded bags for easy identification anywhere in the market. The benefits of selling branded rice cannot be over-emphasized.”
The chairman of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, Mr Celestine Chukwudi Nnadozie, described the new Adani rice market as critical in unlocking the agricultural potentials of the area.