NNPC, Total empower 21 farmers in Enugu

By Mary Okoh

Enugu

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in collaboration with Total Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPNI) has trained 21 smallholder farmers on agribusiness sustenance and value chain addition in Enugu State.

  At the graduation ceremony in Enugu on Tuesday, the Executive General Manager of TUPNI, Mr Vincent Nnadi, who was represented by Delight Sunday-Anecho, Head CSR partnership, lamented that lack of agricultural storage facilities and knowledge has made farming in Nigeria a less attractive venture for the smallholder farmers.

  According to him, the initiative is part of their corporate social responsibility aimed at empowering the smallholder farmers with requisite skills on how to add value to their produce to extend the shelf life thereby improving the earning capacity from their Agro-products, adding, "Total and its partners intervene in creating awareness and increasing capacity on the value addition that these farmers could leverage on to make a success of their farming business, earning more money and creating employment.

  "Total and its partners are consistently committed to giving back to the communities through human, social and economic development. Human capacity development is one of the ways to transform our society by providing knowledge and skills to smallholder farmers that will enable them become major players in the agricultural industry," he said.

  According to Nnadi, "This training sponsored by NNPC/TUPNI and her partners and facilitated by Davichi Empowerment Initiative (DEI) aims to improve the resilience of the farmers and imbibe sustainable practices that will move them to the next level. The 21 beneficiaries have received skills on different types of Agro-produce processing and packaging, sources of funds, regulations relating to food processing, hygiene issues, available market and source of processing and packaging equipment in Nigeria. It is therefore certain that the era of wasted farm produce is over for these beneficiaries".

  He thereby urged the graduands to utilise the knowledge they acquired during the training, adding, "Your dedication and willingness to put the knowledge you have gained and the starter packs given to good use, will mark the beginning of your successful entrepreneurial journey. As you remain dedicated to your business, we hope to see your well improved, well packaged agro products in the market soon."

  The Director of Davichi Empowerment Initiative (DEI), Davies Echegwisi, commended NNPC and Total for their effort in contributing towards achieving a hunger-free nation, which, according to him, will help in the transformation of Nigeria into a global food powerhouse.

  DEI is a non-governmental organization appointed to implement the programme in Enugu State with a vision to train and empower smallholder farmers in Nigeria irrespective of gender, tribe and religion.

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