By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKAâ€”ANAMBRA State Government says it is worried by the refusal of farmers who secured loans to repay them, adding that the situation had made it difficult for others to benefit from the scheme.
Governor Peter Obi said in Awka, while receiving officials of the state branch of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, that the state government accessed N1 billion loan to boost commercial agriculture, but lamented the difficulties in recovering such loans disbursed to farmers.
While assuring the rice farmers of all necessary support, the Governor made it clear that all loans must be repaid on agreed terms to enable others benefit.
He said that his administration was committed towards making the state self -sufficient in rice production, adding that the state governmentÂ was putting in place necessary infrastructure to boost production and distribution of rice, including the reconstruction of the Onitsha-Omor-Adani-Nsukka Road to ease transportation.
Obi regretted that 50 years after independence, Nigeria was still not capable of feeding itself and assured that the state government would not relent in its policy of promoting agriculture to achieve food security.
The state chairman of the association, Chief Paul Mgbechi, in his address commended the Governor for measures taken so far on privatization of the giant rice mill at the Lower Anambra Irrigation Project, Omor, which he noted would add value to Anambra rice, adding that if other Governors could emulate Governor Obi, the country will stop rice importation by 2013.
Mgbechi explained that with enough financial support, the farmers could produce 8000 tones of rice in the state, which was capable of creating 30,000 job opportunities and save over N800 million spent annually on rice importation.