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Rice farmers to get N1bn from Ebonyi govt

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Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, right, Secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Prof. Bernard Odoh and Head of Service, Dr. Chamberlain Nwele, at a special stakeholders summit on Ebonyi Rice Revolution at Abakaliki on Wednesday.

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, right, Secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Prof. Bernard Odoh and Head of Service, Dr. Chamberlain Nwele, at a special stakeholders summit on Ebonyi Rice Revolution at Abakaliki on Wednesday.

As part of efforts to make Ebonyi the number one state in rice production in the country, Gov. David Umahi has directed the disbursement of N1billion to commercial rice farmers in the state.

The sum, according to him, will not be given to them in form of cash, but as seedlings, fertilizer, pesticides, and other inputs.

Umahi, who made this known during a special stakeholder’s forum on rice production in the state last week, ordered all council chairmen, development centre coordinators, management committee members and liaison officers of the councils and DCs to acquire some hectares of land for rice production.

Under the latest arrangement, the council chairmen are to acquire 20 hectares of land; coordinators, 10 hectares; and management committee as well as Liaison officers, five hectares each.

Umahi told the political office holders that their survival on their jobs would be predicated on their performance in the task.

Board members and heads of parastatals, according to the governor, should also own one farm for agricultural production. He added that the state Executive Council would manage the Ezillo Farm.

The governor stressed that his vision to make Ebonyi State the highest rice producing state in the country could only be achieved if the ruling class showed interest in agriculture.

He disclosed that a new office, to be headed by a Senior Special Assistant on Rice Production had been created to oversee the disbursement of the rice loan to commercial farmers.

Governor Umahi said, “It is not going to be dash; it is going to be loan and when you produce, we will take over the rice and pay you the difference.  It is a revolving loan. We borrowed it from the Federal Government, which they will deduct from our allocation every month.

Responding to the appeal by the governor for the provision of land for rice production, traditional rulers, who spoke at the summit, pledged their readiness to key into the agricultural programme.
They however requested that five per cent of the total proceeds from the lands should be given to the original landowners.

Local Government chairmen that attended the summit also assured the governor that they had already keyed into the programme, as each of them had met the governor’s directive to acquire at least 2,500 hectares of land in their councils.

Speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Barrister Uchenna Orji, said the summit was convened to deliberate on how to revolutionise rice production in the state for greater yield.

Lectures were delivered at the occasion by the Provost, Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Prof. Justina Mgbada and the Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Ebonyi State University, Prof. Foluso David Abraham.


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