By Nna Anulumadu
Akpo community in Aguata local government council of Anambra was set agog last Sunday August, 20th, 2023 as the parish priest of Holy Family Parish, Umueze Akpo Rev Fr Philip Uche Okoye harvested and displayed biggest yams in Anambra state.
The spectacular event tagged ” Come See Yams 2023″ witnessed other activites including formal reception for Rev Sister Emilia Ugonna Okpala ( a finally professed indigenous sister of the town), Rev Deacon Valentine Ike and Rev Deacon Anthony Aniechedo who are newly ordained indigenous deacons of the town.
Respected dignitaries in attendance including traditional ruler of Akpo community HRH Igwe Architect J O Okpalaezecha, Vice Chancellor Peter’s University Onne, Rev Fr Prof. Emma Umezinwa among others.
In his address, the distinguished farmer Fr Philip Okoye described the colourful event as the 6th edition of come see yams which he started in 2017. He disclosed that since inception of his farming exploit, he has harvested and distributed among the aged and the less-privileged at least four thousand tubers of yams, adding that during the “Come See Yams” of last year, he decided that some of the yam harvests be auctioned for the building of the chapel.
He made it clear that through such process, a gingatic beautiful chapel of perpetual adoration has been erected and completed in the space of one year, expressing optimism that part of this year harvest will enable the parish raise fund for erection of parish secretariat in preparation for dedication of their church building next year. He also stated that he has trained over three hundred youth in his unique method of yam cultivation, disclosing that one of the youth he trained harvested the biggest yam in Akpo this year, a development that attracted the young farmer an award from the community.
Fr Okoye popularly known as” Di ji”said he is still willing and ready to train anyone who is interested in learning the yam cultivation method he originated for bounty harvest. He called on Nigerian youth to embrace farming as that is the only surest way to navigate the current hardship rocking the masses. According to him, the solution to Nigerian economic problem is to engage in food production in order to have enough in the country. “When we fail to produce what we consume, we will never get it right in Nigeria. I am happy today because the yam cultivation method I introduced is spreading. Some farmers in Enugu and Imo have already embraced this method,” he stated.
The traditional ruler of the town Igwe Okpalaezecha who spoke to the press poured encomiums on Fr Okoye describing him as a great revolutionalist in the area of farming, adding that he has turned their town into centre of food production, disclosing that so many youth are now embracing farming.
Also, the President General of the town Chief Henry Akajiofor extolled Fr Okoye for transforming their community with farming, describing him as hardworking priest who has shown them that their land is fertile against their former notion.
High point of the event was distribution of the tubers of the yams to the elderly and other community members while every guest in attendance ate roasted yam to their heart fill
It will interest you to know that Fr Philip has won so many awards from producing biggest yams in Anambra state. One of the yam he produced last year weighed 133kg.