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Farmers laud reactivation of rice mill

Rice farmers in the Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom have applauded the decision of the state government to resuscitate the moribund Ibom Rice  Company.

Mr Nnamso Ekpo, a rice farmer and youth leader in Onna, expressed the farmers’ pleasure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Eket, Akwa Ibom.

He said the rice farmers were pleased with efforts of the state government  to revive the rice mill.  
The Akwa Ibom Government recently collaborated with Vietnamese agricultural experts to reactivate  the mill. 
  Rice farmers in the state had decried the deplorable state of the rice mill,  which had thrown  them out of business.  
Ekpo said rice farmers who took to other crops because of the inability to process their rice would now go back to rice cultivation once the mill  became functional. 

“The steps taken by the government in bringing Vietnamese experts to revive the mill are a pleasant  news to us.
“It will afford us an opportunity to contribute to efforts to ensure national food security.   
 “The rice  plant has the capacity to feed the state and other Niger Delta  states, and we have trained manpower to  boost food production in Onna,”  Ekpo said. 
He lauded Gov. Godswill Akpabio for revisiting the Ibom rice project in line  with the administration’s policy of reviving ailing industries in Akwa Ibom.    
According to Ekpo, more than 1,000 people from   neighbouring communities can be gainfully employed by the rice mill if it becomes functional.   
“The former company trained more than 300 youths in modern methods  of rice cultivation, but with the closure of the mill they lost their jobs. 

“The harvested rice could not be processed and the youths are now jobless. We appeal to the government to look into the plight of these youths.   

“Government has given us hope by ensuring that this project takes off. We wholeheartedly support the  project,” he said.
   The Ibom Rice Company is a collaboration involving the immediate past administration of Gov. Victor Attah, the Federal Government and Midland Rice of the U.S.    But the foreign technical  partners reportedly withdrew from the project due to alleged disagreements with the state government


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