The Zero Hunger Forum has pledged to assist Ebonyi generate N48.4billion from rice production annually.
A Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the Head of the forum made the pledge on Tuesday in Abakaliki at a gala night organised by the Ebonyi Government after the forum’s two-day second quarterly meeting.
Acording to Obasanjo, the forum would offer technical assistance to the government in support of its massive rice production policy, aimed at meeting the rice needs of the country and beyond.
“We would encourage you to adopt irrigation and high mechanisation approach in rice production as both are indispensable in attaining massive rice production goals of any state or country.
“The state has 72, 000 hectares for rice production and with a target of six tonnes per hectare production, we would attain half a billion tonnes per hectare annually.
“This will translate into N48.4billion revenue annually from rice production and this target is realisable with President Muhammdu Buhari showing great commitment towards agricultural revolution,” he said.
The smuggling headache
Obasanjo therefore tasked relevant authorities in the country to combat smuggling, especially at the nation’s borders, stressing that the menace hampered revenue accruals from rice production.
“We have to check smuggling especially at the border with Benin Republic and when I faced this challenge as President, I drew the attention of late President Matthew Kerekou.
“I told him that we would allow his country’s goods into Nigeria because its economy was not bigger than Ogun’s, but we would not allow dumping of goods or smuggling.
“When these acts persisted, I closed the border and both of us later met in Badagry after five days and resolved the issue,” he said.