David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano has said that the stateâ€™s rice production is set to hit 600,000 metric tons of rice this year.
The governor said the new target follows the introduction of new irrigation technology in rice production in the eight local government areas of the state, where the crop was grown in large quantity.
He said it is confident that from its current yield of 345,000 metric tons, it would hit 600,000 metric tons this year.
The governor, who spoke during the inspection of the multi- million naira Center Pivot Irrigation System at Egwe Agwa Ogbakuba in Ogbaru local government area, said the state would by the production of that quantity of rice, become a net exporter of the product once the target was met.
He said this is because by such quantity, the state would be producing more than required for local consumption, hence the need to export the excesses.
According to the governor, the installation of the new irrigation system in four locations in the state was to ensure all year round rice production, with the attendant multiplier effect of empowering of about 2,500 farmers in the state.
Furthermore, the governor said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had agreed to provide funds to Anambra State government to buy off all the paddy rice produced in the state, while millers would buy all the paddy rice from government, adding that by so doing, the issue of unsold rice produced by the farmers would not arise.
He also said that the state government would support the training of young farmers to update their knowledge in modern agriculture and commended the people of the state for keying into the state governmentâ€™s agricultural policy.