By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The Ebonyi State Government says it has borrowed N10 billion from the Federal Government to finance agricultural activities in the state.
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi specifically told newsmen in Abakaliki on Friday that the credit would be used to support farmers and domesticate rice production in the state.
The governor added that the state government would also establish Mega Rice Cities in the various local government areas of the state to boost rice production.
“We have also borrowed some funds under CARTS from the Federal Government.
“We borrowed N2billion, we will be paying off in the next 3 months, of course we borrowed another N5 billion and another N3 billion.
“We want to domesticate rice production in Ebonyi State and we are going beyond individual production.
“We are now beginning to see how we can institute what we call rice mega cities in each local government area where by we have 5,000 hectares of land dedicated for rice production in each of our local government areas.
“Already, we have 4 rice mills that are in operation and you also see private people that are milling with their traditional machines.
“We have imported another 3 sets of rice mills which we will install in the next 3 to 4 months and our idea is that before the middle of next year, we will be able to have one rice mill in each local government area.
The governor stated that the idea is to maintain the nutritious quality of the rice produced in the state with a view to making it compete internationally.
According to Umahi, the state is planning to cultivate 100,000 hectares of land to produce 400,000 tonnes of rice in the next two years.
He said government was already supporting farmers with inputs and subsidies and that buyers from neighbouring African countries were patronising the rice market in the state.