By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA – Wife of the Governor of Kogi State, Rashida Bello, has promised to sponsor and support 2000 youths and women in the value Rice Farming Outgrowers program.
She made this known on Saturday at the Ejiba Rice Mill while meeting with women and youths who participated in the Omi Dam Rice Farming Out-Growers program.
Mrs Bello expressed excitement at the level of involvement of women in the scheme which she launched last year in conjunction with the Kogi State Ministry of Agriculture and Agri Integrated Service Africa Limited.
She said: “I have received a lot of positive feedback and I am happy that our women and youths are gradually embracing farming and are benefiting immensely from the Rice Mill project being established in Ejiba.
“My husband, Governor Yahaya Bello, saw the potential of the Omi Dam and the huge farming opportunities and job creation that can be derived from the Omi Dam farmland if fully developed. On that day, he made a promise not to allow the place to lie fallow, and we thank the Almighty Allah that today, we have a 50-ton per day rice milling plant that can process over 2,500 tons of paddy rice per month in Ejiba.
“My office did not hesitate to utilise the value chain the rice mill has brought to the people of Ejiba by empowering our women and youths to continuously grow paddy rice that will be processed at the mill. I believe with this intervention, Ejiba land will be a rice-farming hub, and the women and youths of Ejiba will go to all other local governments in Kogi State to train our women and youths on the best practice in rice farming.
“Based on the reception and the willingness I have seen in our people to go back to farming, our program will be enrolling 2000 women and youth Out-Growers for the next wet season farming come April. So please make sure you enroll for the program and fully participate in order to get all the benefits that will come after.
“I was told 75 people enrolled for the program last year, I can understand that based on past experiences from previous governments, our people have lost their zeal to participate in empowerment programs. But remember our Governor did not just promise Ejiba land a rice mill but delivered on his promise. Hence, I want to charge all the women and youths of Ejiba land to also join hands with me to push my vision in making Ejiba land the home of rice farmers.”