ENUGU – Rice farmers in Enugu State are to benefit from the 200 million-dollar National FADAMA III additional financing for rice intervention, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Mike Eneh, has said. Speaking at a town hall meeting for National FADAMA III coordination officers and rice farmers in Enugu on Monday, the commissioner said the state was striving to attain its potentials in rice production. The commissioner, who was represented by the Programme Manager of the Enugu State Agricultural Development Project, Mr Onyema Nwodo, said the farmers had the capacity to produce enough of the crop for the country. “We are yet to explore all our potentials in rice production. We only need to increase our production to be in better stead to feed the nation,” he said. Eneh said the state government was tightening all loose ends to ensure that it paid its counterpart funds to qualify for participation in the scheme. “We are aware of the challenges on us but the government shall be supporting what we are doing,” Eneh said. Responding, the Team Leader of the coordinators, Dr Ben Herbert, said the essence of the meeting was for stakeholders to exchange ideas on how to make the project successful. “The desire of the World Bank is for all the designated staple crop processing zones in the country to swing into action immediately.
[eap_ad_1] “So we are here to exchange ideas to encourage one another with a view to removing doubts in the project. “Although the FADAMA III project had ended in principle in 2013, the World Bank agreed to provide the additional financing to wrap-up the staple crop processing zones. “This agreement is in support of the agricultural transformation agenda of the federal government,” he said. Herbert said the project would cover six local government areas in the state, adding that the data base of genuine rice farmers would be stored for the implementation. Another member of the delegation, Mr Samuel Alabi, said the aim of the project was to transform agriculture in the country. He said the World Bank approved 200 million dollars for the rice project in six states of the federation. “We are using the capacity that had already been built in the system to increase the capacity of our farmers and their income generation. “Sixteen other states have indicated interest to join in the project and they are waiting for any of the six states that will default in the payment of counterpart funds,” he said. Alabi said that only farmers from states that met the stipulated conditions would benefit from the scheme. (NAN)