BY KEECHUKWU OFOMAH
Governor Willie Obiano says his government targets to achieve 600, 000 metric tons of rice in 2018 with its efforts at supporting dry season farming in the State.
The Governor made this known when he inspected ongoing construction of the Ogbaru Irrigation Project at Agbagba, Ogbakuba.
The irrigation project which is being assisted under FADAMA 3, includes a Central Pivot System and a sprinkler with the capacity to irrigate 100 hectares of land to support dry season farming.
Also under the irrigation project, over 5000 hectares of land was cleared free of charge for rice farmers and rice have already been planted on it.
During the visit, rice farmers were seen using mechanized threshing machine provided for them under the project to process their produce.
Governor Obiano after the inspection exercise, noted that through the efforts of his administration, the State is presently producing 345,000 metric tons of rice having exceeded its 320,000 metric tons consumption capacity, attributing it to the organization which has been introduced in the rice production business in the State.
He revealed that his government has set up a special Advisory Agency on Mechanized farming to ensure that farmers in the state keep pace with latest technological advancements in the Agricultural sector.
The Governor commended the FADAMA 3 programme for proving a veritable partner with the State government in revolutionizing Agriculture in the state and expressed appreciation for the programme’s support to boost sorghum production and train youths across various agricultural belts.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Mr Afam Mbanefo said under the FADAMA 3 PROGRAMME, four other irrigation projects are being developed at Ezira, Omasi, Ihiala and Omor while 11 major roads leading to various agrarian communities are also being constructed, commending Governor Obiano for his vision that has made the state a reference point in terms of Agriculture in the country.
The State Project Coordinator for FADAMA 3 PROGRAMME, Mr Chukwuka Egbue revealed that to guarantee the project’s sustainability, an agreement has been reached with the Spanish Engineers that constructed the facility to operate and maintain it for one year, during which local operators will be trained to take over.
He further disclosed that with the support of the state government, over 6000 farmers have already been assisted under the programme, to embrace mechanized agriculture while 300 youth graduates have also been empowered to become farmers.
On his part, the traditional ruler of Odekpe, Eze Chuma Onyia commended Governor Obiano for paying desired attention to the development of Agriculture and making the sector very lucrative for youths to participate in, noting that with the project, they will now be able to do dry season farming.
BY KEECHUKWU OFOMAH