The Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri has stated that the Federal Government Rice Farms in Anambra State will be revitalized to boost rice production, create jobs and also improve the living standard of the people in the State and the region.
Speaking during his on the spot assessment of Federal Government Rice Farms/ Mills in Omor and Umerum, located at Ayamelum Local Government Area of the State under Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme 1(ATASP-1), today, 28th September 2020, the Minister stated that’’ the Federal Government is vigorously pursuing and implementing programmes to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production because of its strategic importance as a major staple food crop in achieving food and nutrition security, import substitution and promotion of inclusive economic growth’’.
Shehuri noted that “ the present administration has provided various interventions to promote investment in the rice sector. As a result of these interventions, the country has increased its production from 4.8 million metric tons of milled rice in 2015 to over 6 million metric tons by 2019 with a huge reduction in the nation’s deficit’’.
The Minister further stated that ‘’ Some of the activities undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop the rice sector include the following: Provision of farm inputs such as agrochemicals, organic fertilizers, knapsack sprayers, planting & harvesting equipment such as reapers, mini combine harvesters, threshers at a subsidized rate in order to increase productivity.
He added that ‘’the Provision of modern rice milling machines of various capacities per day (10tons, 20tons and 50tons) with their accessories such as destoners, parboilers, dryers, colour sorters to small/medium scale processors who currently produce the bulk of Nigeria rice to improve the quality of their output, facilitated the establishment of 25 Nos. integrated rice mills by private investors nationwide so as to improve the quality of Nigeria milled rice to international standard and currently produce over one million metric tons of rice annually”.
Shehuri further said that ” the Ministry has established 23 Paddy Aggregation Centers nationwide to aggregate and store paddy. The centres were given to members of the Paddy Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN) under the public-private partnership arrangement”.
He stated that ‘’ there will be Dissemination of modern rice production and processing technologies through capacity building of farmers and processors directly and also in conjunction with the international donor agencies such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), German International Cooperation (GIZ), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Competitive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI), AfricaRice’’.
He reiterated that ‘’ the Ministry is currently responding to the challenges of food availability posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting smallholder farmers nationwide with various inputs including certified seeds of improved varieties of food crops such as rice, maize, sorghum, wheat, orange-flesh sweet potato, groundnut cowpea, soybean, yam, as well as cash crops like cashew, cocoa, sesame, oil palm, gum Arabic. Others include herbicides, pesticides and agricultural machinery such as rice reapers, transplanters, power tillers motorized sprayers and processing equipment. According to him, ‘’these are expected to alleviate the effect of the pandemic on farmers and ensure that they keep producing food for the country’’.The Minister informed that ‘’ this rice farm is sited here because of the recognition of Anambra State as one of the major rice-producing States in the South-East zone’’.
He thanked the Government of Anambra State for keying into the policies and programmes of the administration by promoting agriculture especially rice production and processing. He also appreciated Hon (Barr.) Vincent Ofumelu, for his passion and determination to improve the livelihood of his people.
In his remark, the House of Representative member of Oyi /Ayamelum Constituency of the National Assembly, Hon. (Barr) Vicent Ofumelu Stated appealed to the Minister to use his good office to intervene in reviving the pumping Stations located in Ifite Ogwari and Umueje communities to boost rice production and increase the locally generated revenue of the people.
Hon. Ofumelu stated that the people are basically farmers and are desirous of Agriculture intervention policies of the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. He also solicited for Agricultural Inputs, Quality Seeds and Financial grant to assist farmers in the communities.
The Minister also visited the Omor/ Umeum rice Farms, Giant rice Mill in Umumbo communities and commissioned a Blocks of Class Rooms sponsored by Hon. Vicent Ofumelu.