The International Fund for Agricultural Development as part of its Value Chain Programme on Monday officially handed over about 10 lock-up shops and aggregation centre constructed at Agbaja Nwofe in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Commissioning the project, which also included 14 store houses, Governor David Umahi commended IFAD in the State for its commitment, which he said has greatly complemented the lofty agricultural programmes of the State Government.
Represented by his Senior Special Adviser on Rice Production, Innocent Azuobu, Umahi said the mini reservoir facility would provide good storage and safeguard the market value of the abundant farm produce of the State.
He urged the community to ensure protection of the facilities.
Umahi said: “I want to thank IFAD for what they have done to the state.
“They have made the state proud in the area of agriculture.
“It is because of the commitment of IFAD in agricultural development that the state pays its counterpart fund.
“This building is a programme aimed at standardizing the agric products.
“Government has been thinking about it: this is where you keep your product and it will be safe.
“The essence of this by IFAD is to safeguard agric products.
“Government is charging the community to take good care of this projects.
“From time to time the Commissioner for Agriculture will supervise the place to make sure it is properly used.”
The governor assured of continuous partnership with and support to IFAD towards ensuring that more community projects were attracted to the state.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Moses Ogodoali, in his remarks, commended IFAD for executing life touching projects in the state.
Ogodoali said: “Early this year, I was in this market to commission boreholes drilled by IFAD programme and today again we are commissioning a building to protect our farm products.
“I’m m happy to invite you to work again, to execute so many other projects.
“There are other ones at Iboko and the rest of them, including road projects.
“In fact, this programme is working in Ebonyi State and it is touching the lives of Ebonyians positively.”
The state IFAD Value Chain Programme Coordinator, Sunday Ituma, explained that the projects was part of the value chain marketing component aimed at promoting marketing of agricultural chain products.
Ituma noted that a maintenance and protection committee was expected to be instituted to ensure sustenance of the programme.
Itumo said: “As part of our marketing component, we built this in this market.
“We have ten lock up shops, behind which we have 14 stores and an aggregation center.
“These are all aimed at promoting the marketing component of our value chain products of rice and cassava.
“We want to officially let you know that the contractors have successfully completed the projects and we invite you people to officially handover the edifice to you the benefiting community.
“By this programme intervention, we are expected to have a protection and maintenance committee.
“It will be their responsibility to do the allocation of these stores, to collect rent, to manage the account and to make sure that this project is sustained.
Itumo commended Umahi for his steady partnership with the agency, attributing the successes recorded in the State to the Governor’s prompt payment of the State’s counterpart funding.
Others who spoke, including the Izzi Council Chairman, Paul Nwogha, said the projects were worth celebrating and appreciated the Umahi for his diligence in fulfilling the State’s part of the obligation.