From Steve Oko, Umuahia
The Federal Government through the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, FIIRO, is to set up three modern cassava -processing plants in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State.
South East Coordinator of FIIRO, Mr Anthony Chimezie, disclosed this at Atani during the graduation ceremony of 50 farmers trained on modern ways of processing cassava.
Chimezie who said that FIIRO had developed different ways of processing various farm products explained that the gesture was part of government’s on-going efforts to transform the agric sector and make farming a more rewarding occupation.
The institution according to him has already developed over 250 agro-technologies that led to the establishment of over 650,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in South West and Northern part of the country where it started operation since 1956.
He also disclosed that since FIIRO opened its South East zonal office in Enugu six years ago following the establishment of the institution in all six geopolitical zones of the country, FIIRO had also developed morden ways of processing and packaging many farm products for greater economic value.
Chimezie cited the packaging of bottled palm wine with a life span of six months without loosing its original taste and natural properties as one of its latest technological innovations.
” Today we have bottled palm wine that can last for six months; our people overseas now enjoy fufu and pounded yam flours through our innovations”, he boasted.
The FIIRO boss who said that apart from researches and training of farmers on modern ways of processing farm products for better economic use , the institution has a plant in Enugu where some of the machines are fabricated.
He urged farmers in the state to tap into the new technologies to make a better living while thanking Senator Mao Ohuabunwa for attracting and facilitating the operation of the institution in Abia State.
Handing over certificates of participation to the 50 trainees, Senator Ohuabunwa expressed joy that farmers in the state could now make more gains of their proceeds with little stress.
He urged them to form cooperatives for easy access to funds, saying that transforming the agric sector remains the practical way to revive the wobbling Nigerian economy.
Ohuabuwa who noted that farming is the main stay of Abia North people, however, regretted lack of modern processing plants for agric products in the zone.
The Senator who is still at the tribunal over the outcome of the 2019 poll said he attracted the project as a way of improving the economy of rural farmers in the zone by transiting from peasant to commercial farmers, and to make farming attractive to youths.
Some of the participants : Sunday Okechukwu, 31; and Chukwuma Orji, 64, expressed happiness over the training and pleaded with government not to delay in installing the modern equipment in the area.
They also expressed willingness to go into commercial cassava farming with the establishment of the plant in the area.