By Kenneth Afor
Rice millers in Ebonyi state, the sixth largest producer of paddy in the country, recently received new rice processing mill plant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under the organization’s value chain development programme (VCDP), to ramp up the state’s milling capacity of about 2 million metric tonnes annual processing figure.
This, according to Sunday Ituma, state programme coordinator, IFAD would make the milling process in the state more proactive to respond to the increasing level of harvested rice in the state, make it available in the markets and also to sustain the development of production in the country.
The processing plant includes a warehouse, processing, parboiling sections among other related processing stages of the staple food.
Ituma added the organization has also provided two additional processing mini machines for small scale processors in the state in other to accommodate those who might not be able to have access to the large plant.
“The maintenance costs of the machines are low and they enhance production output. This made VCDP to get involved in the private sector in ensuring effective maintenance of the machines in other to increase output,” he said.
Moses Nome, commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, attests to the efforts of IFAD and its VCDP initiative in educating farmers on various techniques involved in boosting the entirety of the rice value chain in the country which has helped in making more Nigerians to depend on the country’s rice rather than the foreign ones.
“IFAD-VCDP has educated our farmers on modern and high yielding techniques in rice planting and also in the areas of processing, packaging among others,” he said.
He added that farmers through the IFAD’s initiative has ultimately shifted farmers psyche of the conventional farming activities to the modern practice which is integrating farming and business together so as to achieve financial freedom.