By Nick Dugba.
Taraba state can supply almost the entire Ten million metric tons of rice the entire nation consumes if the state can organize itself and plan.
This disclosure was made to journalists by the Taraba state governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, during his recent visit to Karim Lamido, where he inspected several rice farms as part of his thank you visit to the people of the state for supporting him during the elections and the court cases he has undergone.
The governor was optimistic that Taraba could feed the whole country which imports about 10 million metric tons of rice.
Here are the full excerpts of the interview.
This area has huge dry season potentials, is there any way the State Government can come in and support dry season farming?
Already we are supporting them! What you are seeing here is State government support and I decided to visit here to see the progress and we are working on making sure we can get some powerful hydro pumps so that we would be able to come up here from the River Benue and that would increase the acreage. I understand we have more than 4000 hectares and we hope that by next year, we would double, because Taraba can feed the nation. The country is importing about 10 million metric tons of rice and Taraba can supply almost that quantity of rice if we can organize ourselves properly. This is a very good beginning and I am impressed and congratulating the farmers.
We have a similar project in Gassol, what are you doing about it?
I am working assiduously on Gassol project. In the next six months, Gassol should take off. Before December, they should be selling paddy rice from Gassol itself. So it’s not as if we have forgotten, but the acre here is bigger than Gassol. So Gassol can be feeding the mill. We are going to expand both and like I said earlier, Taraba state can be in a position to provide the country with rice.
Is there any long term plan to take Taraba out of the dependence on federal allocation using rice as a kick starter?
That is the beginning! Not only rice but also solid minerals. We are graduating to tourism. All these are what would get us out of federal government funding. But we need planning. We need finance. We are getting some assistance from the federal government particularly on the rice because it is a high foreign exchange earner. Not only rice, we are going into cocoa,coffee, palm oil; these are very good revenue earning crops that we have in abundance in Taraba state.