The Anambra State government says its target in rice production will increase from the current 345,000 metric tons to 600,000 metric tons this year.
This is as a result of the introduction of new irrigation technology in rice production in the eight local government areas of the State where the crop was grown in large quantity.
The State Governor, Willie Obiano, who spoke during the inspection of the multi- million naira Center Pivot Irrigation System at Egwe Agwa Ogbakuba in Ogbaru local government area, said the State would become net exporter of rice once the target was met as its local demand would have been surpassed.
According to the governor, “the installation of the new irrigation system in four locations in the State was to ensure all year round rice production and job creation as the attendant multiplier effect of empowering about 2,500 farmers in the State”.
He further explained that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in partnering with the State had agreed to provide funds to buy off all the paddy rice produced, while millers would buy all the paddy rice from government.
Obiano stated that by so doing, unsold rice produced by the farmers would no longer be an issue.
He also said the “State government would engage the youth farmers in training to update their knowledge in modern agriculture and commended the people for keying into the State government’s agricultural policy”.
The Governor said that “Sorghum would be added among the crops to be grown under the FADAMA 111 additional funding”, stressing that there is already existing market for it in Onitsha-based Sabmiller Breweries.
The State coordinator of FADAMA 111 additional financing, Mr. Chukwuka Egbueh said that “as part of efforts to ensure increased rice output, 11 rural roads leading to the rice production belts in the State were being constructed, just as 18 youths and women groups had been assisted through provision of rice mills, tricycles, thresher and de-stoning machines to ease their production activities”.
He also said that FADAMA had built drying slabs at Umumbo, Ogbaru, Amanuke and Ifite Ogwari to ensure faster drying of rice, adding that the envisaged target would surely be met with the inputs by the State government.