Ajomiwe: Famers in South East Need Adequate Govt Support to Diversify Crop Production
Insists Crops Grown in North Can Do Well in South East
A prominent farmer in Abia State, Eze Philip Ajomiwe, has called on the South East governors to give adequate support to farmers in the geopolitical zone to enable them diversify crop production.
He made the call in a chat with journalists after conducting stakeholders in agriculture round his agribusiness complex, De- Philajoms Agro and Allied Industries Nig Ltd. located at Oriendu, Umuahia North Local Government.
Eze Ajomiwe, who is the traditional ruler of Oriendu autonomous community, debunked the widely held notion that crops grown in the nothern part of Nigeria cannot thrive in the southern belt, saying that such position has no empirical backing in agriculture.
He stated that those crops believed to be exclusive to the north could equally be grown down here in the south if farmers receive the same level of support and inputs given to their northern counterparts.
“Our Northern counterparts have more advantage over us because both their states and federal government are supporting them in farming. They have gone far in mechanised farming,” he said.
“I am assuring that if we can have all these(supports), we will compete with them,” Ajomiwe noted, adding, “there is nothing that grows in the North that cannot be grown in the Southeast region”.
According to him, what is required to make those crops blossom outside their traditional zones is to put into consideration the choice of soil and the right time to plant them.
To back his claims, the traditional ruler stated that he grows Hibiscus Sabdariffa(Roselle plant) which flower is used in making the popular zobo drink.
He said that he also grows tumeric, ginger, beans among others, adding that these crops, usually thought to thrive only in the North “are all doing well” in his farm.
The royal father explained that farmers in the southern region do their planting in the forest belt and have to contend with trees unlike in the north where farmers plant in the savanna belt with the complements of government-backed mechanised farming.
“We need government to help us go into mechanised farming with equipment such as tractors, and farm inputs like fertilizer as well as improved quality, high yielding crops,” he pleaded.
The traditional ruler, whose processing plant encompasses the entire value chain of cassava production, listed his products to include high quality cassava flour, odourless fufu, cassavita provitamin ‘A’ yellow root, starch, chips, cassava grits and garri.
He described his plant as one of the best cassava production and processing plant in Southeast, adding that it is well equipped to undertake a wide range of functions in processing of cassava.
The equipment include weighing machine, peeling machine, washing machine, hammer milling, grating, fermentation with inox (stainless steel), hydraulic presser, semi automatic presser, and bagging machine.
Others are equipment for pulsating or decanting, flash drying with six cyclones, milling, sifting and packaging according to weight specification in kilogram, water treatment machine used in washing cassava.
Ajomiwe explained that the tunnel dryer in his production outfit is the only one of its kind in the entire southeast, adding that it can be used in production of chips, grit, dry garri, fish roll, milling for bread flour, among others.
He said he has a well equipped room for frying of garri which is the final line of production before it is packaged as garri or cassavita as the case maybe, and then sealed with the sealing machine.
On farming practices, Eze Ajomiwe advised his fellow farmers to adopt the use of organic manure in farming, saying that such practice engenders production of healthy foods, which would make Nigeria’s farm produce enjoy more acceptability in the global market.
A stakeholder in agribusiness and the CEO of Agro Vamas and Logistics Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Maxwell Awah, who came all the way from Delta State to process a truck load of cassava, said he was impressed with
the facilities at De- Philajoms Agro and Allied Industries Nig Ltd.
He said that the modern equipment at Ajomiwe’s agribusiness complex in Oriendu, Umuahia North Local Government for production and processing of cassava from start to finish is a major boost to farmers.
According to him, with more of such facilities, farmers in both the South East and South South would be in a better position to add value to their farm produce and make more profits.