Awka, Nov. 2, 2020 A rice farmer, Mr Edwin Erebe has identified high cost of production, inputs, machineries and re-bagging by criminal elements as some of the major challenges facing rice production in Anambra.
Erebe, the Executive Director of Wisdom Pack Anambra Rice Processing Company made this in an interview with newsmen on Monday in Awka.
He described the activities of criminal elements, who undermined their efforts to re-bag and brand locally produced rice in alien and foreign bags as the “worst challenge”.
“They print our bags and package any kind of rice full of stones and sell to unsuspecting consumers.
“We have complained to the state government officially about this but nothing has been done,” he said and called for sanctions against the criminals.
Erebe also expressed concern over the high cost of chemicals, fertilizers, labour and inputs in spite of federal and state governments’ measures to subsidize inputs and shoot rice production in the country.
“In a bid to reduce labour cost, we discovered that procuring a locally fabricated rice par-boiler equipment cost as high as N35 million, while sorter machines cost about N20 million.
“These are expensive machines in the rice milling industry for large scale production but we cannot afford them,” he said.
Erebe said the challenges had made rice production expensive and more difficult and could result in an increase in price of rice next year.
The businessman advised government to develop rice production settlements and boost support for farmers to ensure sufficiency of rice in the country.
He said the country had the capacity to attain self-sufficiency in rice production and meet the growing demand.
“What will make a nation rich is when the lowest income earner in the country can afford three squares meal in a right proportion and in a balanced diet.
“That is when the nation can say it is rich,” he said.
According to him, rice production alone can bring about fortune for the country and generate a lot of employment for youths.