Rice farmers in the Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom have applauded the decision of the state government to resuscitate the moribund Ibom RiceÂ Company.
Mr Nnamso Ekpo, a rice farmer and youth leader in Onna, expressed the farmersâ€™ 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 governmentÂ to revive the rice mill.Â Â
The Akwa Ibom Government recently collaborated with Vietnamese agricultural experts to reactivateÂ the mill.Â
Â Rice farmers in the state had decried the deplorable state of the rice mill,Â which had thrownÂ them out of business.Â Â
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 millÂ became functional.Â
â€œThe steps taken by the government in bringing Vietnamese experts to revive the mill are a pleasantÂ news to us.
â€œIt will afford us an opportunity to contribute to efforts to ensure national food security.Â Â Â
Â â€œThe riceÂ plant has the capacity to feed the state and other Niger DeltaÂ states, and we have trained manpower toÂ boost food production in Onna,â€Â Ekpo said.Â
He lauded Gov. Godswill Akpabio for revisiting the Ibom rice project in lineÂ with the administrationâ€™s policy of reviving ailing industries in Akwa Ibom.Â Â Â Â
According to Ekpo, more than 1,000 people fromÂ Â neighbouring communities can be gainfully employed by the rice mill if it becomes functional.Â Â Â
â€œThe former company trained more than 300 youths in modern methodsÂ of rice cultivation, but with the closure of the mill they lost their jobs.Â
â€œThe 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.Â Â Â
â€œGovernment has given us hope by ensuring that this project takes off. We wholeheartedly support theÂ project,â€ he said.
Â Â 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.Â Â Â But the foreign technicalÂ partners reportedly withdrew from the project due to alleged disagreements with the state government