Ebonyi State Government has mandated each public office holder in the State to cultivate at least five hectares of rice in the 2016 farming season.
The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Uchenna Orji, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on the outcome of the Rice Summit organised by the ministry.
According to him, the public office holders include: state executive council members, local government area caretaker chairmen, coordinators of development centres, and council liaison officers, among others.
“The governor mandated that the rice cultivation will be commercially based and that he will personally be involved in the supervision of the farms.
“Government wants its officials to lead by example in realising its objective on massive rice production to buttress the seriousness attached to it.
“We have so far acquired 54, 000 hectares for massive rice cultivation and more are expected, to ensure the attainment of the rice production goal”, he said.
He said the officers must show manifest interest in rice cultivation as they were expected to own lands and possess certified proof of ownership from the state’s Ministry of Lands and Survey.
“The interested individuals must also show the extent they will go in the cultivation process, evidence of farm-management knowledge, among other requirements.
“Individuals need to support government in realising this objective, as it is battling to meet the requirements of other sectors in the face of harsh economic realities”, he said.
He noted that the summit was convened to address problems militating against aggressive rice production in the state which included land certification, management and security.
“It also brainstormed on ways of ensuring effective collaboration between the government and the private sector in achieving its objectives in commercial rice farming”, he said.
The commissioner added that interested farmers will sign necessary agreements with government and be ready to commence cultivation in the next one week.
“We will also give N200 million loan to Ebonyi Rice World Company to mop sufficient rice paddy for intended purpose”, he said.
Gov. Umahi had announced the grant of N1billion for intending rice farmers for immediate commencement of commercial rice cultivation in the state. (NAN)

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