The Ebonyi government has allocated 140 hectares of land to members of the State Executive Council (Exco) for compulsory cultivation of rice.
Mr Uchenna Orji, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, made the announcement on Monday when he led the exco members and top government officials to supervise rice cultivation demonstration exercise at Government Farms in Ezillo, Ishiellu LGA.
He said that the exercise was conducted in conjunction with agricultural extension workers and officials of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
“The programme is the first phase of the governor’s policy to engage every sector of the state in massive production of rice.
“140 hectares of land have been allocated to the exco members for rice cultivation under the Multipurpose Cooperative Societies’ requirements of IFAD and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The remaining 1, 360 hectares are reserved for other cooperative societies and individuals that have already keyed-in into the policy through the IFAD and CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme,” he said.
Orji described the government’s agricultural programme as `all inclusive,’ adding that tractors would be mobilised to the various sites to achieve the desired objectives.
“It is expected that through the office of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on rice production, the tractors will be mobilised on Monday,” he said.
In his remarks, Sen. Emmanuel Onwe, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, said that the executive council decided that government appointees and civil servants must cultivate at least one or two hectares of land.
“This is to achieve the government’s objective on commercial rice production and return the state to the summit of rice producing states of the country,” he said.
Prof. Folusho David, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, commended the policy and called on the government to sensitise farmers for active participation.
Exco members, who took turns to speak on the occasion, re-affirmed their resolve to contribute in realizing the government’s commitment to boost rice production.
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