The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Enugu State, at the weekend, trained 105 farmers on COVID-19 prevention and safety precautions to stem the pandemic among farmers in the state.
Participants at the train-the-trainer workshop on COVID 19 prevention were drawn from 20 farmer organisations within the five pilot council areas of the IFAD Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in the state.
The council areas include: Aninri, Enugu East, Isi-Uzo, Nkanu East and Udenu.
The IFAD State Programme Coordinator, Dr Edward Isiwu, told newsmen that the programme was meant to train the farmers on Covid 19 prevention and safety measures and how to identify COVID-19 symptoms.
According to Isiwu, it is clear that `COVID-19 is real’ and it is imperative for farmers to listen, understand and observe all the information passed across to them on the preventive measures.
In a lecture, Dr Chukwuebuka Ezeagu, a medical practitioner, educated the participants on the precautionary measures such as wearing of face mask, washing of hands regularly, social distancing and avoiding large crowds.
Ezeagu, working with Abiding Grace Hospital, Nsukka, noted that the use of alcohol-based sanitiser was one of the preventive measures that everybody must observe henceforth.
“Farmers are the live wire of any nation. No nation can survive without food. Therefore, we deemed it imperative to make sure you are well informed about COVID-19 precautionary measures and symptoms,’’ he said.
Mrs Chinonso Chime, a nurse working at the hospital, advised the participants to avoid hands contact with the nose as “it is one of the ways in which the virus is being spread fast’’.
‘‘Always remember to sanitise your hands each time your hand comes in contact with your nose and also cultivate the habit of washing your hands frequently,’’ Chime said.
Mr Humphrey Ubani, the VCDP Rural Institution Gender, Youths and Mainstreaming Officer (RIGYMO) in the state, advised the participants to observe and apply the knowledge they learnt in the programme, as they return to their communities.
‘‘You are expected to share the knowledge you gathered here with your cooperative members and other farmers in your localities,’’ Ubani said.
Mr Mark Ogbonna, Apex Chairman, All Farmers’ Organisations in Aninri Local Government Area, said: ‘‘I never believed there is anything like COVID-19 but with this IFAD-VCDP awareness programme, I am convinced that COVID-19 is real’’.
“Therefore, I am going to share this information with our cooperative members, family and friends in our communities,’’ Ogbonna assured.
Mrs Amaka Ekwo, the Chairlady of Little is Much Cooperative Society in Enugu East Council Area, said she would disseminate the information in her community, especially the Covid 19 Prevention measures and symptoms.
The highlight of the Covid 19 Prevention workshop was the distribution of packets of face masks and cartons of 24 bottles of alcoholic-based hand sanitizers to each of the 20 farmers’ organisations, from which the participants were drawn.
The items were provided for the step-down training by the farmer organisations for their members at their various localities.