By Bayo Oyewale, Lokoja
Kogi State Government is to embark on massive rice production across the state in partnership with FADAMA in its bid to join the league of leading rice producing states in the country.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Kehinde Oloruntoba, disclosed this at Ujoh in Bassa Local Government Area on Friday during the kick-off inspection tour of 3,000 hectares of FADAMA rice farms across the state, adding that the programme would be adequately funded.
He said that so far, the government’s desire to become one of the leading rice producing states in the country was set to come to fruition given the massive rice production drive through the additional financing project in the state.
Oloruntoba expressed delight that with the 3,000 hectares of rice farms in the state anchored by FADAMA III (AF), the state-packaged “Confluence Rice” would be available in the market as from December, this year.
He hinted that a rice mill capable of processing 50 tonnes of rice daily would soon be established at Omi in Yagba West LGA while another mill of same capacity would be installed by the Federal Government in Ibaji LGA of the state.
He assured that the state government would invest massively in her vast arable land by exploiting available agricultural intervention windows, adding that Alape Crop Processing Zone alone had about 300,000 hectares of arable land.
On land-clearing, Oloruntoba assured that his ministry was trying to resuscitate non-functional government bulldozers adding that it would also liaise with the Ministry of Works to clear lands.
The hectares of land, according to him, would be handed over to FADAMA and beneficiaries of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme for rice production.
The state Programme Coordinator, Paul Ogunmola who revealed that funds for routine supervision of World Bank projects were always handy, hinted that Faro 44 rice species planted on cluster farms across the state would yield well.
Ogunmola commended the state government for paying the 2015 and 2016 counterpart contributions, adding that the World Bank and the Federal Government had given immense incentives.
The three FADAMA rice production clusters including Ujoh, 80 hectares; Ogbah, 120 hectares and Biroko, 100 hectares were inspected by the Commissioner in Bassa Local Government.