Stakeholders appeal to FG on accessible infrastructure
The Chairman of Abakaliki Rice, Ebonyi State, Joseph Nnunu, has charged the Federal government to make agricultural infrastructure readily available and accessible to farmers.
Nnunu said this would enhance the Federal Government’s quest to boost food supply and provide more competitive sources of incomes for Nigerians.
According to him, some of the major challenges stakeholders are facing in the rice sector include, unavailability of modern tractors, parboiling machine, drying machine, access roads and boreholes.
Nnunu said; “We are appealing to government for aid. This is one major reason why foreign rice is cheaper than local rice. Government should encourage production of our local Abakaliki rice by providing stakeholders easy access to infrastructure, while placing outright ban on the importation of foreign rice.’’
The chairman also said the World Bank, under its Growth and Employment Scheme (GEM) early this year, had provided business support for Abakaliki Rice.
Under the arrangement, he noted that the World Bank provided financial support to Ainotrans Energy; producers of Abakaliki rice to enable the firm engage the services of vendors for its marketing drive.
Similarly, Mr Innocent Mbey of Ainotrans Energy believes that rice milling is capital intensive. ‘‘We need aid from the Federal Government in the provision of necessary machines for the production of Abakaliki rice. Better machines in the production can equally enhance more standard quality.”
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