Ondo State Rice Production Initiative
ONDO State’s branded rice, Golden Sun, hit the market recently. It came out late last year after a little delay in processing. The state government intends to flood the market with a projection of 165,000 bags of ten kilogrammes rice.
THE Senior Special Assistant to the State Governor on Agriculture and Agribusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu, said the production of the branded rice has earned the state a loan of N91 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to boost production.
THE breed planted is called FARRO 44, a high-yielding variety that enables farmers to get seven to eight tonnes of rice per hectare, compared to other rice breeds where farmers get a maximum of 1.5 tonnes per hectare.
THE rice is planted and processed here in the state, and it is low in sugar content, reducing the prevalence rate of diabetes, which is promoted by imported varieties high in sugar content.
NEEDLESS to say, the state government’s initiative is aimed at boosting the federal government’s efforts at increasing food production and reducing the billions of naira expended on rice importation.
THROUGH the initiative, rice farms could provide employment opportunities for thousands of youths engaged in the production, processing and packaging of the branded rice.
THE CBN loan is expected to enable farmers scale up their production of rice, a move which could lead to the sustainability of the initiative far beyond this administration.
WE therefore commend the Ondo State Government for rising up to the challenge of curbing excessive rice importation and putting the state among the rice-growing ones in the nation.
WITH the success of this initiative, it is important for residents of the state to support the government’s other efforts at making rice production a permanent feature in this part of the country.
BY this, we mean support should be given to the Sunshine Rice Mill initiative at Igbara-Oke, the proposed collaboration with Dangote Group and Lagos State and the further development of rice production at Ogbese.
JUST as the branded rice initiative has become successful, we believe it is possible for the state government to extend commercial rice production into the riverine areas of the state.
THE branded rice initiative is a reassurance that commercial rice production is indeed possible in this part of the country.
IT also reinforces the belief that the state government will continue to overcome challenges posed by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and the problem of accessing an efficient destoner in order to reduce the cost of production.
AS the initiative gathers momentum in the state, an upsurge of other challenges such as maintaining the perfect working conditions of the rice mills, unpredictable weather situations and market challenges should be envisaged and tackled appropriately.
THESE challenges, coupled with the problem of expanding rice cultivation into the Southern Senatorial districts, the establishment of worthy partnerships and management of success, portend that the state must not rest on its oars. This might account for why drone application training is to be organized for farmers.
IT will enable them use an equipment to apply herbicide on rice, so that the best quality of the product can be harvested at the end of the day.
IN addition, farmers can also access climatic information on a daily basis so that deficient rice can be spotted easily.
IT is important now more than ever that Nigerians must tackle the issue of food importation to prevent capital flight ensure food security and other imperfections in the economy.
THE HOPE commends the Ondo State Government for the successes recorded in rice production so far. The branded rice production is fulfilling the desire of this administration to create a better society. We however strongly advise that it should think deeply about how to sustain the project far beyond now.
IT is our wish that the branded rice, which is fast-selling already, is an early indication of success predicted for this administration in its much touted agricultural programmes