The Federal Govern
ment has promised to support farmers in the country to embark on all-year farming through the provision of irrigation facilities to enhance crop yield.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh made the promise while addressing farmers at Ndeagu-Echara and Omege-Echara in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State, recently.
Ogbeh spoke through his Senior Adviser on International Donor Partners, Mr Appeh Auta, when the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD)-Value Chain Development Programme (VDCP) visited some rice-processing clusters in the state
He noted that farming as a business would not only improve the living conditions of the farmers but also improve the country’s economic well being.
“The federal government would support you through the provision of inputs, access to financing among other interventions, to achieve improved yields from your crops.
“You will also be supported to embark on all-year farming through the provision of irrigation facilities that would enhance crop yield,’’ Ogbeh said.
The minister urged them to form cooperative groups for easy financial access.
“This will in turn make your groups have the capabilities of sourcing funds and accessing mechanisation facilities such as tractors and tillers for optimum production. “You will effectively sustain your agricultural ventures, access more funds, contribute in developing your communities, among other developmental efforts,” he said.
Ogbeh said that government was giving priority for massive rice production to check the importation of the produce into the country.
“The country is currently importing $6 million worth of rice daily and the funds to sustain such importation are no longer obtainable,’’ he said.
IFAD—VCDP National Coordinator Dr Ameh Onoja, expressed happiness over the rice production efforts of the farmers in the state and pledged the organisation’s continued assistance.
“We evaluated the total crop areas and yield performance and pray that the rains extend to the latter part of the year for a bumper harvest.
“We also commend the Ebonyi Government for practically demonstrating its commitment towards improved rice production, to make the state the highest rice producer in the country.
“The government has sustained its counterpart fund payment and demonstrated its political will through mechanisation of farm practices to assist farmers,” he said.
The Federal Govern