Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has officially flagged-off the 2019/2020 Rice Farming season in the State with a charge for the farmers to make adequate use of the improved rice seedlings and rice implements Abia government has provided for them.
Speaking at the event held at Bende Agro Services Rice Field at Okpotom Bende, in Bende Local Government Area, the Governor represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Uzoamaka Ikonne, promised to sustain the Abia farmers to make them produce enough rice that would feed the State.
According to her, gone are the days when farmers engage in subsistence farming, as Abia state is investing more in commercial farming and also charged Abians not to depend on crude oil only as the major pillar of Nigeria’s economy but should see Agriculture as a means of employment for the teeming Youths.
She noted that the administration started with palm oil revolution in the state through the Community based Oil Palm Development with Tenera palm seedlings.
She commended the Governor for his support for rice production saying that his support for agriculture is as a result of his love and passion for his people which birthed the desire to partner with Rice farmers in the state.
She also assured farmers in the state of the willingness of the Ikpeazu-led administration to take Agriculture in the state to the next level.
In his speech, the Co-ordinator of the Abia State Accelerated Rice Development Program, Pastor Okechukwu Dike assured the Government and People of Abia State that in the next two years, importation of rice would stop, as they would be producing enough rice that would be able to feed Abia people and even export.
He disclosed the existence of Osikapa Abia Center in the state, where rice is milled and sold and also noted that hundreds of thousands of bags of Osikapa Abia has been sold as they are poised to produce more.
Pastor Okechukwu Dike appreciated the Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for providing Abia farmers with farm implements and improved rice seedlings to the farmers and also commended the Permanent Secretary for always being there for the farmers in the state and called on the state government to help revamp the dam which was constructed by World Bank but is currently going moribund.
In their separate speeches earlier at the event, the State Secretaries of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (ALFAN) and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Hon. Ndudim Ikeluo and High Chief Okechukwu Christopher Akobundu respectively, thanked the Governor for his tireless efforts in Agriculture and particularly in Rice production and prayed that in no distant time, Abia state will be ranked number one in rice production in Nigeria and further called on their members never to grow weary but to join hands together to make Agriculture in Abia an envy for all states.
Chief Akobundu thanked the Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and also the Co-ordinator for identifying rice farmers also stating the readiness of their members to do more.
Highlights of the event were the ceremonial planting of rice and the presentation of farming implements and rice improved seedlings to the farmers to support them.
The new improved high yield breed of rice seedlings were procured by the Governor from the Government of Cross River State.
Onyebuchi Ememanka, Esq
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
1st August, 2019.