The Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security in Ekiti, Dr Olabode Adetoyi, says the state government is concluding plans to institutionalise rice pyramid programme in the state.
Adetoyi said the plan would make Ekiti the largest rice producer in the South-West and one of the largest in the country.
He said this on Friday, when he visited rice farmers in Ijero, Ikoro, Igbemo and Aisegba Ekiti to interact with them on how the programme would be achieved.
He said that Gov. Kayode Fayemi had invested heavily to open up about 1,500 hectres of land for lowland and upland rice farming, which is expected to engage 12,000 people.
According to him, the state government, in collaboration with the Federal Government and private investors, will provide the farmers with improved paddy rice, fertilizer, tools, chemicals and other incentives that will guarantee bountiful harvest.
The commissioner charged the farmers to embrace the government’s support in order to ensure food security, employment and wealth creation for improved living condition.
The Chairman of Agbegbemi Farmers Association, Rev. Micheal Oyewumi, appealed to the governor to prevail on the Ministry of Environment to allow the association access to more land in the area to grow rice.
At Igbemo Ekiti, the commissioner urged the people to cooperate with the government’s contractor handling the clearing of land in the area.
He said that the project was designed to open up the area for farming and that government had no intention to take over their land.
Also at Aisegba Ekiti, he pleaded with the Elerebi of Aafin, Aisegba Ekiti, who are the custodians of the land to allow the contractor to pull down the palm trees.
He said that if not removed, the palm trees would impede the use of tractors and combine harvesters and also harbour birds on the rice field.
Adetoyi said the national leadership of the Rice Farmers Association would be in the state to see how it could assist the government to achieve its rice pyramid programme.