The government of Ebonyi State has revealed plans to commence the enforcement of its ban on the sale of foreign rice in markets and other outlets in the state.
The disclosure was made by the State Governor, David Umahi, when he was paid a visit by participants of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Senior Course 39, Jaji, in Abakaliki, the state capital, on Monday, November 21.
Governor Umahi made it known that the order to ban the sale of foreign rice in the state would soon be enforced to see to it that the residents patronised home-grown ‘Abakaliki Rice’.
“I will personally lead a task force, consisting of the State Executive Council members to various markets and enforce the order.
“Individuals who are selling the produce will provide certification of its quality because most of the rice brought into the state are not parboiled.
“Any rice that is not parboiled after six months turns to chaff as most of them brought into the country stay for about 10 years before being imported.
“The rice then becomes poisonous and we have banned cooking of non-Ebonyi rice (foreign rice) inside the state’s Government House, hotels and public functions.
“The Ebonyi (Abakaliki) Rice still presents its unique taste even when cooked without meat and we will give you some quantities for attestation.”
The governor further disclosed the government’s plan to establish mills in the 13 Local Government Areas of the state before the end of 2017, in addition to the three functional rice mills owned by the state.
“When we conclude the inauguration, we will consult our stakeholders who show zeal and commitment but may not have money to purchase the mills.
“We will then aggregate and sell the mills to them with the government maintaining about 20 percent minimum equity shares and the stakeholders, 80 per cent.
“This is the type of Public Private Partnership we will be engaging in, in line with the theme of your study tour of the state.”
Speaking during the study tour themed: “Enhancing Economic Development through Public-Private Partnership”, the leader of the delegation Commodore Michael Okonkwo, said the tour was one of the programmes that helped participants to study the social and economic challenges facing the nation.
Stating that the aim of the exercise was to evaluate aspects of the theme that concerns Ebonyi, Okonkwo said there were twelves of such groups made up of 27 members each which are currently touring other states of the country for the same objective.
He said the other selected states included Anambra, Gombe, Cross River, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Rivers, Taraba, and Zamfara.