The Federal Government has backed Ebonyi State Government’s decision to ban the sale of foreign rice and commended Governor Dave Umahi for his agricultural policy, particularly in ensuring massive rice production in the state.
FG gave the endorsement through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, while assessing the agricultural potential of the state on his visit to Ettem Amagu Rice Farm in Ikwo Local Government Area of the state.
Audu Ogbeh speaking to Governor Dave Umahi said:
“I heard you banned the sale of foreign rice in your state, God bless you for it. I also heard you invited young men to come back from Lagos and work here, God bless you also for it. They will be happier here in this state than living under the bridge or in substandard accommodation in Lagos, Abuja or elsewhere.”
Ogbeh promised that the Federal Government would rehabilitate the Ettem Amagu Ikwo Dam to encourage dry season rice cultivation in the state, explaining that a minimum of 10 dams per state and the FCT would be built under Operation 1,037 of the Federal Government.
He also pledged to bring agricultural equipment, including rice harvesters, threshers, and parboiling drums, to Ebonyi State while calling on youths to key into the Federal Government’s plan to use agriculture to diversify the economy and to see it as a way out of the present economic recession in the country.
On the visit, the Minister was accompanied by the Chairman, Presidential Committee on Rice Production, who is also the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Godwin Emefiele while speaking, pledged the bank’s readiness to participate in the clearing and re-dredging of the Ettem Amagu Dam.
He explained that the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme would commence next year to boost farming and tackle challenges confronting farmers.
The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Rice Production, Bagudu said what he saw in rice-producing states, showed that the country had achieved self-sufficiency in rice production and should, therefore,commence plan for rice export.