Ondo Plans Bigger Capacity Mill Over Rice Revolution

Rice is the second most important cereal after corn. In 2017, 482 metric tons were produced. Out of this, China produced 210 metric tons.

Rice is staple food for about four billion of the world’s population. The Asian continent dominates in terms of global rice production, with China and India as topmost leaders.

The top 10 rice producing countries in the world currently are China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Bosnia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Pakistan. They are also among the top 10 consumers.

Nigeria is regarded as one of the highest rice importers globally until recently. In Nigeria, major rice producing states are Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Taraba, Borno, Enugu and Cross River.

The country is currently the leading country in Africa in rice production as well as the highest consumer.

This is as a result of the efforts of the current government to discourage rice importation.

According to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) data in 2015, the quantity of rice production was put at 5.5 million metric tons, while in 2017, there was an improvement at 5.7 million metric tons. But consumption rate was put at 7.9 million metric tons in 2017.

The improvement recorded in the production rate was attributed to CBN’s Anchor Borrower’s Programme which benefitted a total of 12 million rice farmers and four million hectares of FADAMA rice land. This has tremendously reduced import bills of the country and improved job creation.

Food security is one of the current challenges being faced in the country and all tiers of government are taking different measures to see to how this could be surmounted.

With the advent of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration in Ondo State, different agricultural programmes have been flagged off and the results being recorded so far have been encouraging.

Ondo State is not regarded as a rice producing state. It is known for cocoa, yam, cassava and cashew, among other crops.

Attempts by previous administrations in the state to work with both Thailand and Malaysia on rice production didn’t yield any positive result.

The Akeredolu’s administration seems to be gradually making appreciable progress, using calculated approach to assist rice-producing communities. Over 70 per cent of the rice farmers in the state are members of the Federated FADAMA Community Association.

The present administration has taken rice production to higher level through capacity building, access to input and funds.

It also partners with FADAMA to set up a pilot mill at Alayere in Akure North Local Government Area. The mill is meant to be replicated in all rice-producing communities. Besides, plan is also ongoing to set up a bigger capacity rice mill by the state government before long.

Visiting some of the rice farms in Akure South Local Government Area and one located near Ogbese River at Asolo-Uso in Owo Local Government Area, efforts of the state government in ensuring that the farmers who are empowered record bumper harvest were revealed.

Farmers, who cut across several associations, said their challenges included inadequate tillers to till their farms in preparation for planting. This, they said, delays the pace of work on their farms.

The state government is busy exploring all available low line areas with high aquifer that are suitable for rice cultivation. Some of the places being currently used for rice farms are Aule, Leo and Ogbese, among others.

Rice requires a lot of water to grow; it is the water-logged swamps that were cleared by the state government through the office of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Agriculture and Agricbusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu.

At first, some of the farmers owned up that they were being dissuaded by some members of their associations not to take part in the programme when it was initiated by the state government as they described it as another deceit from government which would not see the light of the day. But they appreciated Governor Akeredolu for proving them wrong.

While speaking on his farm site at Aule area of Akure, Mr. Kolawole Joseph lamented that cattlemen had attempted severally to enter their farms with their cattle but they warded them off on each occasion.

Mr. Daniel Okpe, who has two separate farms with his wife managing one at Aule, appreciated the governor on his Leo farm for the thresher provided for them which he said helped them a great deal.

He, however, said the powered tiller operators charged N30, 000 per hectare and due to shortfall in rainfall for some time; the machine could not do any work on the farm.

He assured the farmers that the government would soon procure some sets of multi-purpose- powered tillers under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme Loan, which would be distributed to all the rice-producing communities for smooth operation.

He explained that the powered tillers could till the ground when wet or flooded. It can also be used for irrigation and weeding purposes.

On how they maintain the farm, Mr. Sado Evans said: “Different herbicides are applied. When the crops are grown, they use herbicide called selective. The solution has been prepared in such a way that it would not have serious impact on the rice plant, but would dry up the weeds among the rice.

Another rice farmer, Isaac Olude thanked the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Agric and Agricbusiness, Pastor Olotu for making sure the governor’s vision became a success.

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Author: Ashytimex