Anambra farmers target large scale produce of birds, maize, others
ONITSHA - Farmers in Anambra state, under the aegis of Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN Anambra state chapter has set a massive target to produce birds, maize and other products which included soya beans and guinea corn in large scale quantities with a view to enhancing food security and at the same time, boost the state economy.
The poultry farmers who made this known during their meeting with the Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Hon. Afam Mbanefo in his office, stated that they were in Awka to inform the state government of their intention to move into cultivation of maize, soya beans and guinea corn and to seek support from government in that regard.
State chairman of PAN, Prince Ugochukwu Okparaeke in an address, told the commissioner that going by the high cost of feeds among other things, the poultry farmers have deemed it right enough to delve into cultivation of maize, soya beans and guinea corn to enable them produce feed by themselves and reduce cost of growing birds.
Okparaeke who is the founder and Managing Director of Eagle Food Processing Industries, declared: "the cost of feeds has gone higher than our limits and it is impacting negatively on our business. Consequently, we are working towards moving into maize, soya beans and guinea corn production to enable us produce feeds by ourselves, so we have to seek aid from the state government in this regard".
Okparaeke assured that if given adequate support, the poultry farmers have the capacity to achieve the feat of producing those food items in large scale quantities into the markets just like rice and vegetable farmers flooded the market with Anambra rice and vegetable noting that they can also flood the markets with Anambra birds, Anambra maize, soya beans and guinea corn.
"We are aware that there is Anambra rice in the market, we also aware that the state is earning foreign exchange from the exportation of vegetables courtesy of the state support on rice and vegetable producers, similarly we assure that we are capable of producing birds, maize and other things in large scare for commercial purposes if given the same kind of support", Okparaeke added.
He also appealed to governor Obiano to also provide them with hatchery facilities to boost poultry business in the state, pointing out that the absent of hatchery machines in the state has opened the door for hatchers from outside the shores of Anambra to flood the state with low quality day old chicks.
Responding, Hon Mbanefo told the visitors that the state is at their beck and call and praised their vision to move to the next level at which they can produce food items in commercial quantities assuring them that he would make their request available to the governor immediately.
The commissioner informed them that the state has embarked on Community Farming Development Program with a view to reaching out to the rural dwellers and see how to improve on food produce at the grassroots level urging them to henceforth start a monthly meeting with his office as he is ready to be present at such meetings.
He also informed the visitors that the state has opened a data base for farmers with which every farmer in the state is well documented adding that the purpose of the data base is to enable the state know the number of farmers, their capacities and how to assist them for effectiveness.