Ogboji town in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State has been counting its blessings following a handing over of a newly completed ultramodern market retail and lock-up stalls to the community.
The market constructed by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program – Phase One (ATASP-1), a Federal Government special agriculture intervention initiative was said to be in fulfilment of the yearnings of leaders and people of the area to have where they could trade like other communities.
In his speech when the market was commissioned, yesterday, Zonal Programme Coordinator, ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Crops Processing Zone, Mr Romanus Egba explained that the facility was constructed with grants from African Development Bank (AfDB) group and State government’s counterpart funding, with zero financial contribution from the community.
He told the audience that the decision to construct the market was as a result of an appeal by the community members that they needed a modern market.
“Apart from supporting our farmers who cultivate rice, cassava or sorghum to attain maximum yields and create employment opportunities along the value chain, we also provide social infrastructures and support services that enable them sell their produce and attain better living standards.
“Initially, we wanted to drill borehole in the community to provide clean water for them, but we discovered that traders in the market do not have roof under them and were easily exposed to the elements.
Egba called for equitable distribution of the stalls and adequate maintenance of the market, including the toilets. He explained that its affordability was meant to ensure that every member of the community could get it.
Zonal Gender and Social Development Specialist, ATASP-1, Adani Omor zone, Mr Chinedu Ugwuta also told the community leaders to ensure that a minimum of forty percent of the shops were allocated to women to meet gender equality as recommended by the AfDB.
Chairman of Orumba South Local Government Area, Hon Cyprain Okeke, on his part, who was represented by the secretary, Mr Lawrence Nwankwo expressed gratitude to ATASP-1 for choosing Orumba South amongst the four council areas for intervention and for quality jobs so far executed across the benefitting communities
Okeke described Ogboji and other communities captured in ATASP-1 as lucky and urged them not to take the facility for granted.
“Out of 377 communities across 21 local government, Orumba south has four benefitting communities. But out of 15 autonomous communities in Orumba south, Ogboji was picked alongside other three communities for the program, ” he said.
Earlier, President General of Ogboji Town Union, Rev Lawrence Uchenna also commended ATASP-1 for coming to the community’s rescue with such a legacy project as he promised town union leadership commitment to making good use of the facility as well as ensuring greater participation of the towns people in ATASP-1 special agric intervention initiatives.