The Acting Programme Manager of Agricultural Development Programme, Anambra State, Jude Nwankwo, says plans are underway to commence export of rice from the state in 2018.
Nwankwo disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Awka.
He said: “By the grace of God, Anambra will commence rice export after our harvest this year.”
He assured that the state will produce more than 500,000 tonnes of rice in the 2017 harvest year based on projections from the field.
He said that the figure would be 300, 000 higher than what was recorded in 2016.
Nwankwo said: “In 2016, we projected 180, 000 metric tonnes of rice, but we surpassed it by 20, 000. In 2017 our target is to produce 500, 000 metric tonness of rice, but the information from the field indicates that the figure will even go higher again.”
He said that more rice farmers were being supported by government to cultivate rice in Orumba North, Ayamelum, Awka North, Anambra East and Anambra West Local Government Areas and other communities across the state.
He said: “We distributed hybrid FERO 44 rice, maize, cassava and yam to farmers, in addition to huge support the state gave to vegetable farmers who already are exporting pumpkin and bitter leaf to markets in America and Europe.”
NAN reports that many communities in Anambra such as Owusi, Omasi, Omor, Ifite-Ogwari, Enugu-Abo, Ufuma and Umuekete-Aguleri, among other communities have enormous potentials for commercial rice farming.
Nwankwo said a more cheering development in the state was that more youths especially graduates are now showing serious interest and passion in farming due to evident prospect in commercial agricultural ventures.
He said: “In Anambra now, the involvement of youths in agriculture is affecting rural/urban migration. Hardly do I spend up to one hour in my office without receiving youths coming to ascertain how they can establish one agricultural venture or another.
“The state currently has more than 2, 000 registered Farmers’ Cooperative Societies and many jobs and wealth are being created in the sector in the state.”
The Anambra ADP boss noted that the state is practicing e-agriculture which enables information on agricultural activities to be easily generated and transmitted to the state agricultural data unit.
On Meteorological Agency prediction that Anambra will be among states to record flooding which may lead to poor harvest, Nwankwo allay the fears insisting that it would not affect plants in the area.
He assured: “We already have the records of communities with high risk for flooding; our agricultural extension officers guided farmers from such locations to strictly adhere to agricultural calendar.
“And so farmers in these places like Ogbaru and FADAMA communities would have harvested their crops before the flooding will occur this time.”