Martin Elechi, governor of Ebonyi State, appears determined to boost agriculture in the state with special emphasis on rice production. The aim is not only to take care of the needs of the citizens of the state, but also to boost rice production in the country. In the past few years, the government has introduced various measures to achieve that purpose. So far, there has been an improved market value of the famous Abakaliki rice which makes it rank among the best in taste and nutrient.
Romanus Nwasum, commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, told Newswatch that the government was able to achieve much in the agricultural sector due to the importance it attached to it since the inception of Elechi administration; coupled with the fertile nature of Ebonyi State. He said the government was able to change the people’s mentality towards agriculture, especially the youth who, prior to this time, saw agriculture as a job for the elderly ones in the villages. He said there was the problem of processing in the past, which made their brand of rice not to meet international standard. But the government brought an innovation to rice processing by installing three modern rice processing machines in Ikwo, Iboko in Izzi local government council area and Oso-Edda in Afikpo south local government area. “People who buy Abakaliki rice are sure to enjoy their money. It is valued in some Asian countries and other parts of the world. There has been an improved market value of the Abakaliki rice. We want to create employment and earn foreign exchange for the state,” Nwasum said.
Newswatch gathered that the new rice processing machines could produce about 300 metric tonnes of rice per hour. In other words, the three rice processing machines could produce 50, 400 metric tonnes per week, if fully utilised. “We can produce rice that can feed the entire country and other West African countries. We have passed the level of providing food for the eastern region alone. We have been feeding the West African sub-region and we want to go beyond that. We have the potentials. If you multiply the production capacity of the three processing machines in a month or a year, you will understand my point,” he said.
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IMAGES: http://www.21food.com, www.goldenrice.org
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