AS a measure to boost rice production in Abia State, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved 179 business plans for 29 rice farmers’ cluster groups in the state.
The State Project Coordinator of FADAMA, Mrs Ezinne Otuka made this known at the flag off of the implementation of the FADAMA Additional Financing Project at the Ministry of Agriculture premises in Umuahia, adding that the rice cluster group is made up of 1,200 rice farmers across the state.
“We have 179 approved beneficiaries of their business plan for rice production under our crop calendar and there are about 29 rice clusters making up of about 1200 farm groups in that cluster. We have just flagged off the rice production and we believe that by the time of harvest in Abia State for 2017 we will be able to have 22 million paddies of rice in tons from the people that we have empowered today.
“For us to talk about cassava and ice production in the State, we have to start with the off takers that will undertake the production of rice and cassava at the time of harvest, we have n institutional arrangement to help farmers,” she added.
Former Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Uzo Azubuike described the event as dream come true for the State adding that they have concluded plans to provide farmers with necessary inputs in time so as to boost production and eliminate scarcity through agricultural financing.
Azubuike noted that as one of the pillars of development in achieving food sufficiency, generating employment and effectively diversifying the economy and urged farmers to embrace the change to the mechanized and improved system which government is providing for them.
“We’re all aware that our governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is building his administration on five pillars, the foremost of which is on agriculture with the goal of achieving food sufficiency, generating employment and diversifying the economy of the State from oil money shared from federation account.
“To do that, we have decided to engage different frontiers in agriculture, to remove all those barriers hindering participation of people especially the youths in agriculture,” he said.