Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh
The Federal Government has backed the decision of the Ebonyi State Government to ban the sale of foreign rice in the state.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, gave the endorsement when he visited Ettem Amagu Rice Farm in Ikwo Local Government Area of the state as part of his assessment of agricultural potential of the state.
Ogbeh, who was in company with the Chairman, Presidential Committee on Rice Production, who doubles as the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, commended Governor Dave Umahi for his agricultural policy, particularly in ensuring massive rice production in the state.
The minister said, “I heard you banned the sale of foreign rice in your state, God bless you for it. I also heard you invited young men to come back from Lagos and work here, God bless you also for it. They will be happier here in this state than living under the bridge or in substandard accommodation in Lagos, Abuja or elsewhere.”
Ogbeh called on youths to key into the Federal Government’s plan to use agriculture to diversify the economy and to see it as a way out of the present economic recession in the country.
He promised to bring agricultural equipment, including rice harvesters, threshers, and parboiling drums, to Ebonyi State.
Ogbeh promised that the Federal Government would rehabilitate the Ettem Amagu Ikwo Dam to encourage dry season rice cultivation in the state, explaining that under Operation 1,037 of the Federal Government, a minimum of 10 dams per state and the FCT would be built.
Emefiele in his remark, explained that the apex bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme would commence next year to boost farming and tackle challenges confronting farmers.
Emefiele also pledged the bank’s readiness to participate in the clearing and re-dredging of the Ettem Amagu Dam.
The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Rice Production, Bagudu said what he saw in rice-producing states, showed that the country had achieved self-sufficiency in rice production and should therefore commence plan for rice export.
Umahi had, while welcoming them to the state, commended President Buhari for reviving agriculture in the country.