Abia state Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon Uzo Azubuike says Abia State produces enough rice to feed its citizens and for export.
The commissioner stated this while speaking with journalists during an inspection of Ozuitem- Igbere and Amaekpu Item rice clusters in Bende LGA.
He said that contrary to the erroneous belief that Abia does not produce enough rice, neighbouring states, individuals and groups come to Abia to purchase rice paddy.
Abia state government, he said, is putting a system in place to ensure all season rice production, adding that Abians do not need to buy foreign rice in the market.
He regretted that the state has not been reckoned with as a rice producing state before now, due the absence of a mill for the processing of the product locally,
but said that the gap has been bridged with the setting up of a rice mill at Umuezike Ofeme, Umuahia North LGA and another one at Atani, Abam in Arochukwu LGA.
According to him, with the modern methods introduced by FADAMA, rice farmers have been able to increase their yields, adding that the state government will continue to support rice farmers in the state to enhance rice production.
Azubuike said that following the effort of Governor Ikpeazu to participate in FADAMA 111 additional funding, the World Bank is rehabilitating the Igu Dam in Bende LGA to boost rice production in the state.
According to him, the rehabilitation of the dam, which will cover a minimum of 6,000 hectares will ensure availability of water all year round for cultivation of rice.
The Agric commissioner who was accompanied on the inspection visit by the Head, FADAMA programme in the state, Ezinne Otuka commended rice farmers in the state for their commitment to rice production, as well Mrs Otuka for her vision and direction.
By Sunday Nwakanma – Umuahia