Ondo State branded rice, Golden Sun rice has hit the market with a projection to flood the state with 165,000 bags of ten kg.
The production of the branded rice which began late last year is now fast selling in the market and has earned the state a loan of N91million from the Central Bank of Nigeria to boost production.
The Senior Special Assistant to the State Governor on Agriculture and Agribusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu disclosed this in a chat with The Hope in Akure.
The rice branded “L’ondo” and “Golden Sun rice” came out late last year due to a little delay in processing.
Olotu attributed the delay in processing to logistics, adding that the problem has been solved.
“The rice is out but it came late. Primarily, it has to do with logistics. We had problem with the destoner because we don’t want the rice to have stone at all and we believe we should come with stone – free rice before pushing it to the market.
“Again, we had challenges with BEDC but we have overcome that. The destoner we are using presently is slow and the one we got from Abuja is not destoning properly. We said okay let’s be using the small one while we work franctically on how we get a better destoner.
“And the governor has given us the assurance that we should go ahead and get the best. We are receiving continuous support from Mr Governor”, he enthused.
Olotu who disclosed that government is organising a training on drone application said farmers will be trained on using the equipment to apply herbicide on rice.
According to him, the governor has approved the training adding that it will be in two batches.
With the equipment according to him, climatic information will be given to farmers on daily basis and if the rice is deficient in any elements, it will be revealed.
Speaking further on the release of the CBN loan, he attributed it to the achievements recorded by the farmers last year, noting that it is meant to upscale rice production in the state in 2019.
You know under FADAMA programme, states were funded across the country. But we worked on rice here.
They had a programme in Ogun state last week where FADAMA from different states came together and did some appraisals.
“Ondo State was highly applauded as the best in the programme. We even recorded higher yield than most of the northern states. our farmers are there, you can go to FADAMA office, get their data, visit some of them and see what they have on their farm.
“And because of what we achieved last year, CBN has given us N91m to do rice cultivation in 2019. I have the alert on my set here,” he said.
While saying the state will upscale its rice production this year said “we are thinking of moving to the southern senatorial district. I was told that there are locations there that are good for rice cultivation. We will engage some young ones to start a pilot scheme there”.
He charged the people looking for what to do to embrace agriculture.
The acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Segun Odusanya said sustaining the project will not be a problem since there is a mill on ground for processing.
He said the state will leverage on the federal government’s Anchor Borrower Scheme to fund it adding that the state government is going to embark on mass clearing this year for rice cultivation.
He called on the people to encourage the farmers by patronizing them adding that the product is of high quality.
Also speaking, the State Project Coordinator of FADAMA, Mr Olusiji Olatunji attributed the higher yield achieved to the breed planted.
“The breed we planted is called FARRO 44. It is a high yielding variety. Some of our farmers were able to get 7 to 8 metric tonne per hectare compare to other rice breeds where farmers get maximum of 1.5 metric tonne per hectare,” he disclosed.
Speaking on the advantages of the brand over imported rice, Olatunji said it is low in sugar while imported is very high in sugar causing diabetes for consumers.
He said the project will support more farmers to go into rice cultivation this year and even encourage other farmers who are planting other things to shift to rice cultivation since it is more profitable.
He said the rice is planted here and processed here making it 100 percent Ondo state unlike some states that will get paddy rice to process in their state.
A consumer, Chief Rotimi Adeyemi in his testimony said it is stone free, remains fresh after 28hours of cooking and very sweet.