From: David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Farmer, millers and for processors in Anabra State are calling on the people of the state to give Governor Willie Obiano another chance to rule the state.
The groups are hinging their advocacy for Obiano on his ‘favourable agricultural policies in the state.
Addressing newsmen at his office, on Monday, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Anambra Rice Mills Limited and Stine Rice Industries Limited, Amichi in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Chief Akai Egwuonwu, said the multiplier effect including job and wealth creation and a host of other things under the governor were the reasons they are backing Obiano for a second term.
He said that Anambra State has never had it so good before, a situation he described as sure way to provide food security in the State and other parts of the country “given the diversification in vegetables production, yam and other crops for export.”
He noted that the only major problem local millers suffer was allowing foreign rice to flood Nigerian markets while Customs kept assuring that borders remained water-tight closed against rice smugglers. He said that the way foreign rice crossed the borders to the market remained a mystery to most Nigerians and needed to be demystified by the Customs officials, if local manufacturers must thrive.
“We have continued to increase our production capacity to meet up with demands. In this first quarter of the year, we intend to produce between 18 and 30 metric tons of rice. We can comfortably mill 440 metric tons per day except for epileptic power supply we suffer occasionally which is another area we seek help. This increase in production capacity is made possible by increase in rice cultivation in Anambra State.”
He said about 88 percent of rice milled in his factories were cultivated in the State, saying that before now the company used to source rice from outside for milling.
On government support to local millers, Chief Egwuonwu said the only visible help from the Federal Government was the anchor borrower scheme through the Central Bank of Nigeria. He, however, acknowledged great support from Governor Obiano’s administration which he said provided seedlings to farmers and other incentives to enable them grow more rice and other crops. He said because of much concern the Governor had showen in agriculture, farmers in the State would never welcome any change of government now in Anambra to avoid going back to square one.
“I have been in this business before Obiano came in as Governor but we have never had the level of support as we are receiving now. Anambra rice has been known in many parts of the world now and it is because of the agrarian policy of this man. We have to be realistic and stop playing politics with everything,” Egwuonwu concluded.