By Emeka Ozumba
I read somewhere that “every great accomplishment begins with a dream, a vision that motivates us to shape our thoughts into a powerful reality;” Thus when the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano envisioned the state’s agricultural revolution with rice production at the fore-front, many a pessimist, waved it off. Today, the Anambra Rice brand is a well-known staple and one of the most sought after rice in Nigeria.
It took a vision embedded in agriculture – one of the 4-Pillars of the Obiano Economic blueprint and galvanization of strong private sector collaboration in 2015 to make the dream a reality. Thus from 80,000 metric tonnes cultivated by out growers across Anambra rice belts in eight LGAs including Ayamelum, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ogbaru, Awka North, Orumba South, Orumba North and Ihiala; the state’s consumption needs of 300,000 metric tonnes has been met and surpassed. As at 2018, Anambra is assured of over 345,280.58mt of rice paddy.
With the right government policies, improved mechanization, donor support etc, the Anambra rice farmers have further increased their average yield with the big farms automating their rice processing. Currently, there are eight rice processing companies with capacity for over 849 tons per day. They include; Stine Industries 440, Coscharis 40, Joseph Agro (JOSAN) 60, Joseph Agro (Umumbo) 219, Udoka Mill 45, Wisdom Mill 45, Wisdom mill 45, and RIFAN Mill 40 with others in the pipeline.
As governor Obiano commissions the Coscharis modern rice Mill at Igbariam, it is worth remembering that it took one man’s dream, and commitment to the vision with a sustainable public-private sector initiative in place to set in motion these chain of actions that has changed the narrative of rice production in State Anambra for good – from next to nothing to making major contributions to the growth of the State GDP. It is indeed another promise kept.
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