Dr Edwin Uche, Executive Assistant to Imo Governor on Poverty Alleviation, said the state government distributed inputs and paddy rice to 1,000 rice farmers in the state.
Uche who also coordinates the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in the state told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri on Sundaythat the measure was to boost rice production in the state.
“Apart from providing the farmers with high-yielding rice seedlings, inputs and finance, we engaged technical experts that will put them through the entire process.
“There is also arrangement for off-takers to buy off what they will produce.
“We believe that through this approach and strict financial checks by the officials of Bank of Agriculture, the sky will be the limit of genuine farmers venturing into this agribusiness initiative,’’ he said
He said that the state government had a plan to join the league of commercial rice producers in the country.
“Imo has the potential to be among the net producer and exporter of rice in Nigeria because of several factors counting in favour of the state,’’ he added.
NAN reports that the Okigwe, Ideato North, Oguta and Ihitte Uboma areas of the state are very fertile for rice cultivation.
The executive assistant noted that the country was making positive impact in rice production in the continent and the state would key into the drive.
“Agriculture is a sector that is capable of providing sustainable employment to appreciable percentage of the unemployed population in Nigeria.
“This is the new drive being pursued by the Federal Government and the Gov. Rochas Okorocha-led administration,’’ he said.
Uche advised the beneficiaries of the anchor borrowers’ programme to utilise the opportunity because it could transform them into rich farmers and employers of labour.(NAN)