In line with its efforts to ensure food sustenance for Deltans, the state government has acquired about 1,000 hectares’ of land at Ebu in Oshimili North Council Area of the state for the cultivation of rice.
This is as the government has also approved the siting of rice processing mills at Obior in Aniocha North Council Area and Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli North Council Area of the state respectively.
Dropping the hint in a chat with our correspondent, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delta State, Hon. Austin Chikezie further disclosed that the rice cultivation will commence from the Ebu-Illah River Basin, just as fund has also been set aside for Deltans who may wish to go into rice cultivation.
Besides giving out funds to those who desire to go into rice cultivation, the Agric Commissioner further disclosed that interested farmers will also be supported with fertilizer, land, rice seedlings and preparation of the acquired land for the planting of the rice seedlings.
“In other to fully carry out the rice value chain, approval has been given for the sighting of the rice mills in the said local governments. You will realize that in the past, the few farmers who are into rice production often go outside the state to mill their rice, which often increases the expenses incurred by them, and on its own, adds to the high cost of rice as a staple food in the open market.
“To help in bringing down the prices of rice, the state government decided to float its own rice processing mills so that the end price will be less. Besides this, Delta State is blessed with two types of land that support rice production, that is, the low and up land. While the low land has to do with the riverine area, the up land has to do with those areas not close to river. Therefore, the state government is committed to encouraging rice production in the state like most states are doing now”, he disclosed.
Hon. Chikezie while saying that Delta State has about five areas of comparative advantage in agriculture, revealed that the state
government in the area of aqua-culture has approved the siting of two new fish clusters in Ewulu, Aniocha South Council Area and Mbiri in Ika North East Council Area of the state respectively.
According to him, the fish clusters will commence with 40 ponds each and each pond will house over 1,000 fishes of table size. “This means injecting about 80, 000 matured fishes into the market every six months for sustenance of Deltans at affordable prices”.
“The cash component is give to palm plantation farmers according to the sizes of their farms. And as part of the value chain, government has also approved the procurement of four oil milling machines to be given to farmers that have existing palm plantation farms”.
On the area of cassava production, Hon. Chikezie hinted that Delta State is fully participating in the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor
Borrowers’ Programme which he said is market driven. “That is, from day one, you must know what to produce for the market. Interestingly, it is in this area we have more participants and presently, we have over 300, 000 uncultivated hectares’ of land that are favourable for cassava production.