NIGERIA – The Japanese Government has donated a rice mill worth over N26m (US$70,650) to the Edo State Government, as part of efforts to facilitate rice production in the state.
According to the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Yutaka Kikuta, the Japanese government-funded project would further enhance farmers’ income and foster socio-economic development of communities in the state.
Kikuta said the project, which was worth over N26m (US$70,650) would provide rice parboiling equipment, hauler, de-husker, de-stoner machine, soaking tanks, steaming tanks, a generator and bagging machine, among others.
“The use of the facilities will enhance the quality and marketability of milled rice in this community and nearby communities, thereby enhancing the income of rice farmers as well as fostering the social and economic development of these communities in particular and Edo State,” he stated.
He further noted that the gesture was part of the Japanese Embassy’s grassroots grant assistance program aimed at increasing the quality of rice production in the state.
The representative of the Edo State Governor and Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, assured that the state administration would provide the needed assistance to ensure the success of the project.
The State Government of Edo last year, embarked on a multi-faceted agricultural development scheme backed by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Elephant Group, and a number of other off-takers.
The priority crops include cassava, maize, rice, which are being cultivated in different locations across the state, including Ilushi, Iguoriakhi, Sobe, Warake, Iguomon, Agenebode, Usugbenu, Ekpoma, among others.
Special Adviser to the Governor, Mr Crusoe Osagie had revealed that the state had developed an off-taker agreement and intended to harvest 17,000 metric tons of rice by cultivating 4,000 hectares of land and 11,000 tons of maize by cultivating 6,600 hectares of land at the end of the planting season in 2019.
The Off-takers, according to the aide, are on ground to buy off the produce, so farmers are assured of buyers for their produce.
Edo State Government also acquired a N5bn (US$13.5m) loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme, to be invested in rice and maize production across the three senatorial districts.