The Enugu State Government has expressed its willingness to assist farmers in the state to increase rice production and ensure food security for the people.
The Programme Manager, Enugu State Agricultural Development Programme (ENADEP), Mr. Matthias Onu made the disclosure at the training of farmers on Improved Rice Parboiling orgainsed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMADR) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
According to Onu, 50 destone machines were distributed to rice farmers last year to enable them produce more quality rice.
He disclosed that the state government had gone ahead to acquire 1,000 hectares of land for dry season rice production in the state.
The programme manager said that the development would make Enugu to retain its status in rice production in the region.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Matthew Idu has described the state as the home of rice production in the South East region.
Idu disclosed that the state had the highest number of rice farmers in the region as eight out of the 17 local Government Areas in the state produced rice in commercial quantity.
He said that the training would expose rice farmers on the new technique of producing, processing, packaging and marketing rice to attract more buyers.
“If we say we are producing rice, we should equally eat good rice because what took us to foreign rice is the cleanliness. You can cook foreign rice without removing the stones.
“Parboiling is one of the things that lead to having less stones in rice. When you parboil with good technique, the chances of having stone will not be there.
“This training is a very good one and it has come to the right people because Enugu state is a home of rice production,” he said.
The Consultant of JICA, Mr. Bamidele Bello, said they intended to train extension agents, who would in turn train the parboilers.
Bello noted that parboilers, who had been trained in other states had adopted the technology, testified increase in the yield and income, and expressed hope that rice farmers in Enugu state would not be left out.