Gov Willie Obiano during his inspection tour to Irrigation Works on going at Ubahuekwem in Ihiala LGA ,says that Central Bank of Nigeria has agreed to provide funds for Anambra State to offtake paddy from rice farmers at a convenient price to be determined by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Irrigation project which is being executed by the State Government with support from the World Bank through FADAMA 3 PROGRAMME, has a 450 meter Central Pivot System and a sprinkler with the capacity to cover over 110 hectares of land.
Under the project, over 5000 hectares of land has also been cleared for farmers in the area.
Speaking after the exercise, Governor Obiano explained that the idea behind the offtake initiative, is to create a ready market for rice produce to eliminate the challenges experienced during periods of glut as well as to ensure that Anambra Brands of rice are processed by standard millers.
He revealed that through the irrigation projects which are needed for dry season farming, government aims to successfully achieve 3 effective rice planting sessions annually, to enable it meet up with its target of doing 600, 000 metric tons of rice in 2018.
The governor while noting that work is to commence soon on Oseakwa Hill road leading to the facility, urged people of the area to fully key into the dry season farming initiative of his government to boost their production capacity.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Mr Afam Mbanefo said the numerous efforts of the present administration at supporting small holder rice farmers when aggregated with its partnerships with agro-investors in rice production, will ensure that the State surpasses its target of producing over 600, 000 metric tons this year.
The State Project Coordinator for FADAMA 3 Programme, Mr Chukwuka Egbue emphasized that the irrigation initiative became imperative because of the state’s low stock of lands and to enable farmers take advantage of the dry season which usually is a period of scarcity for them.
For the Member representing Ihiala One constituency in the State Assembly, Mr Chidi Udemmadu, Governor Obiano’s foresight in keying the State fully into agriculture to create wealth and employment, is now paying off and Ndi Anambra are better for it.
In their separate remarks, the Igwe elect of Ubahuekwem, Chief Obi Odimegwu and a stakeholder farmer in the area, Chief Mike Ejezie commended the initiative by the State Government to broker an arrangement to offtake produce from the farmers, saying that through the governor’s efforts, Ihiala is now a producer of rice.
The Ihiala Irrigation Project which is less than five kilometers away from the Ogbaru Irrigation facility, is to be completed and handed over by end of next month.