Ekiti State Government has kicked off its planned 1.5 metric tonnes annual rice production as it reinvented the rice pyramid for which the state was once famous.
This is thereby signalling the restoration of the state’s lost glory in commercial rice production.
In fact, Governor Kayode Fayemi declared on Monday: “We want to increase rice production in Ekiti from 473,000 metric tonnes annually to 1.5 million metric tonnes. We are doing this in partnership with JMK, Dangote and Stallion Rice Mills, their plants are already in Ekiti.”
In the 60s, cocoa, groundnut and rice pyramids were prominent in the southern and northern parts of the country but disappeared with the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity.
The rice project is a tripartite programme between the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria and the Ekiti State Government.
The programme will lead to production of over one million metric tonnes of rice yearly.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, at the flag-off of the rice pyramid project and the 2021 wet season rice cultivation in the state commended President Muhammadu Buhari for demonstrating the capacity to tackle poverty and reduce dependence on foreign food by many of his initiatives in the agriculture sector
He said on Monday that land clearing, production of rice seedling and farm Implements at low interest will enhance rice value chain from primary producers to processors.
His words: “It will also help in tackling poverty and insecurity, enhance economic diversification, foreign exchange earnings and forex policy and curtail cross border banditry.
“In the past, Ekiti was recognised as a rice producing state. We want to change the narrative and restore the lost glory by moving farming from mere subsistence to profitable business, which was why we are mobilising our farmers to benefit from the Rice Borrowers Programme.”
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who also graced the event, praised President Mohammadu Buhari for mobilising Nigerians towards self sufficiency in food production and for export.
He reassured that his administration would explore to the fullest, all areas of strength of the State within the agricultural value chains.
He noted that Ondo State is working on more financial support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), towards developing Cocoa and Oil Palm plantations.
Akeredolu who was quick to add that the proposed support would not jettison the various creative initiatives of his administration to other sub-sectors of agriculture, said that exploring the entire agricultural value chains for job creation and food security would continue to be the priority of his administration.
He commended Fayemi for the salutary efforts of his administration at clinging to rice production which he described as the traditional strength of the state within the agricultural food production chain.
He said the development has made Ekiti, the pride of South-West States.