Onyekwere said that the FADAMA III Additional Financing (AF) project had made tremendous progress in efforts to revamp the rice value chain in the state.
He said that the increase in the quantity of rice produced in the state had somewhat provoked a reduction in the price of rice, adding that many residents of the state now patronised the FADAMA rice.
He said that the FADAMA Office had also embarked on the construction of feeder roads in rice producing areas across the state so as to facilitate the transportation of the farmers’ produce to the markets.
Onyekwere said that the FADAMA III (AF) project had invested over N2.1 billion in the state since its inception, adding that the funds were well-utilised.
He, however, noted that the implementation of the scheme in the state had faced certain challenges, adding that more achievements would have been recorded if not for the challenges.
He listed some of the challenges as flooding of some rice producing communities, clashes between suspected herdsmen and farmers and delay in the payment of government counterpart funds.
Onyekwere said that out of the N500 million counterpart funds for the FADAMA III (AF) project, the state government had only remitted about N200 million.
He, however, said that Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration had shown considerable political will to defray the outstanding counterpart funds.
In her address, Dr Victoria Agu, the FADAMA Task Team Leader, commended the state FADAMA Office for keeping excellent financial records.
Agu said that Enugu State was one of the two states in the South East geopolitical zone that had impressive financing records.
She said that the state FADAMA coordination office had recorded commendable feats which should be emulated by other states which were still facing some challenges in the programme implementation.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that those who spoke at the meeting unanimously underscored the need to make agriculture attractive to the youth by introducing mechanised farming techniques.