Anambra State government says it is targeting to increase yield from the current 345,000 metric tons to 600,000 metric tons this year as a way of augmenting the introduction of new irrigation technology in rice production in the eight local government areas of the state where the crop.
Chief Willie Obiano, the state governor, who spoke during the inspection of the multi-million naira Centre 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 Obiano, the installation of the new irrigation system in four locations in the state was to ensure all year-round rice production with the attendant multiplier effect of empowering of about 2,500 farmers in the state.
He stated that Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had agreed to provide funds to the state government to buy off all the paddy rice produced in the state, while millers would buy all the paddy rice from government in stopping complaints of unsold rice produced by the farmers.
The governor said the state government would support the training of youth farmers to update their knowledge in modern agriculture, and commended the people of the state for keying into the state government’s agricultural policy.
Obiano further pledged to Sorghum among the crops to be grown under the FADAMA 111 additional funding, stating that the Onitsha-based Sabmiller Breweries was a ready market for the production of sorghum in the state.
Mr. Chukwuka Egbueh, the state co-ordinator of FADAMA 111additional financing, 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 youth and women groups had been assisted through the provision rice mills, tricycles, threshers and de-stoners to ease their production activities.
Egbueh 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.