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Enukeme marks new yam in style

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IT WAS display of rich Igbo cultural heritage and gesture of hospitality at Neni,Anaocha LGA as Chief Anthony Enukeme, Traditional Prime Minister (Onowu) of the town celebrated New Yam festival in grand style.

The event, which took place at Umudioka Arts and Cultural Centre, Neni, besides its cultural importance was to encourage farmers to boost agricultural production.

The festival, which heralds the dawn of the harvest season is one of the most important and cherished cultural festivals in Igbo land, is to thank God for bountiful harvests.

Enukeme, said he would encourage anyone that wanted to go into farming. The country, he stated, needs agriculture to be food sufficient, create wealth and to grow the economy. He charged youths to embrace farming to become self-reliant instead of waiting for nonexistent white-collar jobs.

“Anyone that doesn’t want to take advantage of this platform shouldn’t blame anyone but himself. We will support anyone to cultivate any crop of their choice.

We want to discourage idleness and vices with this initiative. In advanced countries, where the government package social welfare for the unemployed, they are no fools. Here, what we do in this regard is to encourage people with financial incentives to be useful to themselves and the society.”

Enukeme urged everyone to endeavour to cultivate something no matter how small in order to have surplus food. He called on the federal government to invest in agriculture by assisting practicing famers with funds and agricultural produce early enough to ensure food security.

Albert Ibeanyi Ezeani, a community leader in Neni, noted that the community encourages farmers in a unique way different from others. “You know new yam festival is significant. We celebrate it as part of our culture and to further promote agriculture.

We celebrate the end of the farming season with the festival. We value agriculture and yam, being one of the major crops is rated high in traditional Igbo society. Recall that we use yam to train our kids before the advent of colonialism.

I would advise every Igbo person to farm, even if on subsistence level. This will boost food production and make food cheaper.”
Also speaking at the event, Emmanuel Ikeji, Onowu of Nise town, who stated that new yam festival is vital in the promotion of agriculture, commended Anthony Enukeme for encouraging farmers in Neni and for the display of rich culture of our people.

We want robust economy through agriculture. “Yam is part of agricultural culture in Igboland and its harvest is the climax of the farming season.

In the past, yam measures a man’s wealth. In the past, before Ozo title is conferred on any one, that person must have cultivated a large quantity of yam. We are here today to join the people of Neni in their celebration of new yam festival. The New Yam festival really helps to sustain our culture.”

Rev. Fr. Leo Mmadubuike, who added spiritual tone to the festival said there was nothing fetish or anti-Christian about the festival. He emphasised that everyone celebrate the festival.

“You can choose to celebrate from your own religious angle. We, as Christians celebrate the new yam festival and pray for more of it.

What Anthony Enukeme is doing today is huge. I encourage others to emulate his noble venture. He not only promotes Igbo culture but also encourages farming, which in turn, helps to reduce hunger.

The festival also saw presentation of gifts to some deserving famers. Cyprian Mmuoebonam, whose yam tuber weighed 131 kilogram, carted home a brand new shuttle bus and a cash prize for emerging the winner in largest yam category, while Mr. Christopher Ibeanu, won a brand new tricycle for cultivating the largest volume of yam in this year’s farming season.

Mrs. Adaobi Muomah, whose cassava root weighed 72.9 kilogram, also won a tricycle and cash prize.

While presenting the prizes during the event, the benefactor, Chief Anthony Enukeme, said the gesture was part of his contributions to the growth of agriculture in the state.

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