Abia State has 4 Cottage Rice Mills With de-stoning and packaging Facilities… Abia commissioner for Information


I understand the problem of those who said there is no Abia Rice

Apparently, those who said there is no Abia rice expected to see a rice farm owned by Abia State Government (ABSG).

If that is also the issue you have, permit me to help you understand exactly the model Abia State Government is working with:

1. ABSG is currently not interested in directly owning rice farms as we believe Government is not well equipped to handle primary production directly in a sustainable manner.

2. Abia farmers own rice farms in commercial quantity in, at least, 4 LGAs: Arochukwu, Bende, Isuikwuato and Umuahia North. The challenge for the farmers was how to improve their yield, mill locally, package and market their products.

3. To address the identified challenges, Abia State Government, under the watch of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, decided to do the following:

A. Supply modern farm implements, equipment, give grants and provide enhanced extension services to farmers. These we are doing in partnership with World Bank FADAMA 3 project as well as using state funds.

B. So far, we have established 4 cottage rice mills with de-stoning and packaging facilities in Acha (Isuikwuato LGA), Uzuakoli (Bende LGA), Bende (Bende LGA), Ofeme (Umuahia North) with plans to establish another one in Abam (Arochukwu LGA).

C. The Government commenced establishment of sale outlets for locally milled rice in Umuahia, Aba and Akara, as well as launched aggressive marketing campaigns to ensure improvements in consumption of locally grown rice. Governor Ikpeazu has since 2015 insisted on serving only Abia rice at official government functions including government house events as well as strengthened Abia marketing agency currently led by Sam Hart.

D. Roads leading to Abia rice farms were prioritized as key road projects for rural access mobility projects.

E. Governor Ikpeazu procured improved rice seedlings and distributed to the farmers.

F. Governor Ikpeazu extended invitations to private sector participants in the agro business to establish modern rice mills at Ubani-Ibeku agro industrial cluster to help improve Abia rice. It is expected that as the marketing of Abia rice soars, individuals and private corporate entities will find reason to heed the call, participate for profit and enjoy a minimum of 5 years tax waivers offered by the Government.

G. Governor Ikpeazu has since invited Aba metal fabricators to commence understudying existing imported cottage rice milling equipment and advanced technology available in other states with a view to locally manufacturing them.

H. In 2016 Governor Ikpeazu paid counterpart fund for FADAMA project to upscale the farmers rice production by empowering over 2000 farmers on cluster basis. These farmers were equipped with modern technology, equipment and trained.

I. Prior to the intervention of Governor Ikpeazu, Abia rice farmers yield per hectare was about 2. 4 tonnes but today their yield has increased to between 4.5 to 6 tonnes per hectare.

The governor did not only built rice mills, the farmers are also benefitting from capacity building initiatives on Agri business and a take off grant on course for those who are engaged in production and Agro marketing. The purpose of the government’s establishment of these community rice mills is to serve as off- takers and help individual farmers to be in business.

The Governor’s primary objective is to ensure food security in the state and improve the farmers livelihood.

It is important to note that countries like Bangladesh extensively used the cottage industry model to accelerate rural development, create jobs and reverse rural-urban drift. There is noting wrong with the current Abia State Government deploying similar models, with possible local re-engineering, to achieve better outcome. Every state must use development models suited to her needs but more importantly one that is self sustaining and where she has some level of comparative advantage. Even after 2023, there will still be Abia rice farmers harvesting rice as long as they are making money from it but if you hand production to government you take a high risk of business failure and discontinuance for obvious reasons.

It is important to note that our industrialization agenda is also anchored on providing enabling environment for private sector operators to lead the charge while government supports as necessary. The reason is simple: historically, businesses survive better when managed by business men for a profit.

While some expected ABSG to take over Golden Guinea Breweries and resuscitate it, we preferred to support the new owners get necessary support to revive the brewery and relaunch the beer. Today, we are proud of what we are seeing. We hope to continue to apply similar model with other distressed firms in the state rather than involving government directly in owning and running profit oriented businesses.

So, if you are waiting to see ABSG owned rice farms before you patronize Abia rice farmers, please change course. Buy Abia rice today and help our farmers make more money, expand their farms and create more jobs for our people.

Thank you.



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