Chief Moses Nome, Ebonyi State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, has attributed the high cost of rice in the state to inflation.
The commissioner made the declaration on Friday in Abakaliki, during the state’s ministerial briefing by some selected commissioners.
He was reacting to a question on the reason for the high cost of rice in Ebonyi, in spite of being a leading rice producing state in the country, and the huge government investments in rice production.
“The inflation has affected all commodities in the market and what we are producing is not to make our produce cheap.
“We are producing so that there will be availability of the produce. If any man who produces cars, for instance, introduces a new price, we will introduce a new price.
“This is because our children go to the same school but we are assuring you that there is availability of rice and other produce in Ebonyi,” he said.
Nome said that the state was producing rice at an optimal level, while the demand for the produce was also very high.
“I received a call on Sept. 30, that people in Lagos are requesting for 900,000 bags of rice from our various mills and as the demand increases, so also will the price of our rice increase,” he said.
The commissioner also said that the state government had revamped the ‘abandoned’ Ezillo rice farm, which generated N5 billion yearly through rice production.
“The Ebonyi rice used to produce 315 metric tons yearly, but it presently produces 1.3 million metric tons yearly and we earnestly believe that we have touched the people’s lives, especially through rice production,” he said.
Besides, the commissioner announced that the state fertiliser blending plant, which used to produce 15 metric tons of fertiliser daily, currently produced 40 metric tons daily.
“This means that we have the ability to supply fertiliser to states in the entire South East and South South geo-political zones, including states in the North Central zone.
“The state government, through its agricultural mechanisation policy, purchased 40 tractors in 2016 and the tractors have been duly deployed to all parts of the state to enhance agricultural production.
“The state has the biggest mushroom farm in the country and we still produce mushroom for the whole South East, South South and North Central states.