From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Farmers and other value chain actors from four local governments in Anambra State have been trained on the business plan development by the Agricultural Transformation Support Programme, Phase One (ATASP-1).
The participants in the two-day training workshop who expressed satisfaction with the knowledge impacted on them were optimistic that with what they have learnt they would make a great change in the sector.
Organized for the members of the Innovation Platform, the training was to enable them access loan facilities, network and boost their agro-businesses just as it was to help them to develop and expand their capacity on how to prepare business proposal plan that would help to enlarge their businesses.
One of the participants and a rice farmer, Mr Afamefuna Onuorah from Omor, Ayamelum local government said the workshop was well packaged and that any participant that was attentive to the lectures, would improve on his or her produce as it took a general approach to the farming business.
Another participant, Chukwudifu Mercy Ogochukwu, from Diamond Corporative, Osamala Ogbaru local government who said she is a practical cassava producer commended the workshop saying, “we came here to learn about Innovative Platform. Today, I have been able to see what Innovative Platform has changed so many people into. It has made me realize now that the small things I have I can package them and it will make name and I will make money. I will also make name and status in the society by having the fabricator, the processor and every other person that will work in the platform to network the business.”
ATASP-1 which was launched in March, 2015, is a programme developed by the African Development Bank (ADB) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to contribute to food and nutrition security, employment generation, and wealth creation on rice, cassava and soghum value chain.
The Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Mr Afam Mbanefo, who declared the event open, commended ATASP-1 for their strategic approach to repositioning agricultural sector in Nigeria and reducing poverty.
Noting that it was in line with Governor Willie Obiano’s top agenda, the commissioner who was represented by the Director, Agro Input and Growth Enhancement Support in the Ministry, Lady Rosaria Ohaeri, said that the state government has been playing key roles in the programme as it has been faithful with the payment of its counterpart fund.
He said: “The project adopts community driven development approach which allows the beneficiaries exercise authority and take decision over their resources. In Anambra, four local government areas are participating in ATASP-1 and Governor Willie Obiano has been a key player in the programme’s activities through prompt payment of government counterpart cash contribution (GCCC) and other logistics support.”
Speaking earlier, the Zonal Outreach Specialist, ATASP-1, Adani-Omor zone, Chief Emmanuel Emeka Ude explained that stakeholders in agro-businesses which include fabricators, farmers, input dealers, processors, rice par boilers, marketers, transporters, among others, were brought together under innovative platform to learn new ideas and brainstorm on ways of improving agriculture in Nigeria.
He praised Governor Obiano for his prompt payment of the state’s counterpart fund and assured him of the project’s support in realization of his agricultural agenda in the state.
“He received ATASP-1 right from inception and is one of the few governors in the whole of ATASP system that paid counterpart fund without being pushed. We have a cordial relationship with the Anambra state government and that is an indication of his interest in ATASP-1 and in agric development. And we intend to reciprocate the interest he has in us,” he said.
Throwing more light into ATASP-1, Mr Ugwuta Chinedu, zonal gender and social development officer of ATASP-1 said: “ATASP-1 is a programme of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, funded by the African Development Bank. It’s a programme that is happening in four staple crop processing zones of which Adani-Omor is part of it. Adani-Omor is for Enugu and Anambra states and we are working on three mandate crops; rice, cassava and sorghum. Sorghum is newly introduced before it used to be in the North, they thought sorghum won’t do well here, but they have tried it and it is all about success story. We even discovered that most of the off takers go to the North to buy and process it here, even the Hero, NBL they all make use of sorghum. So, we brought the farmers here not just farmers only, other value chain actors to build their capacity to what we refer as Innovative Platform, a new way of doing things. “