IT is no longer news that Anambra state since the government of Chief Willie Obiano has joined the league of producers of rice in commercial quantities in Nigeria.
Before this time the edible grains were grown at sustenance level in the Omambala area of the state, in Ogbaru and a few places in the old Aguata division. However, it was in Omor, one of the towns in Ayamelum Local Government Area that sits on the shores of the Omambala River that rice farming was grown at reasonable quantity.
Perhaps that explained why the Federal Government once started the rehabilitation of the Lower Anambra River Irrigation Rice Farm project there. Unfortunately, the Omor Rice Mill was beset by a lot of problems before it could achieve the purpose for which it was established and was consequently abandoned.
It took the coming of the Obiano administration to revive interest in rice farming in commercial quantity in the state. With agriculture as one of its five economic pillars and bolstered by specific enablers the government went to work. Conscious that government does not do business successfully it encouraged investors to come and invest in the state through public private partnership initiative. But this was not until it has successfully battled and brought under control one of the greatest impediments to investments anywhere in the world. The undesirable persisting influence of insecurity had long kept Anambra state off the business range of investors most of whom are from the state. Even those already engaged in the process had to abandon it in order to escape being robbed, abducted and even murdered. For example it took the Coscharis Farms limited that grows paddies on a vast expanse of about 3,000 hectares of land at Anaku in Ayamelum LGA close to 30 years to commence farming.
The mechanized rice farm with two cycle planting season and a humugous mill at Igbariam could not have been possible without the Obiano government. According to Dr. Cosmas Maduka the chairman and CEO of Coscharis Farms without Governor Obiano the effort would come in vain. “Let me say that outside God Almighty I will give the credit of the success of this farm to Governor Willie Obiano because when we talk about providing leadership it is about government providing the enabling environment for business to thrive. First, he came to Anambra state and took care of criminals, kidnappers etc. Today we have Netherlands, Indians, and Australians working in this farm for the past two years without issue. They would not have come…this is the firs important thing he did”.
Today, apart from the Coscharis farm that targets production of about 40,000 tons of rice yield there are others like JOSAN Rice Mill at Umumbo, STINE Rice at Amichi and many more. It may be fair to argue that by the time the Obiano government completes its tenure in the state, Anambra will be competing with the highest rice-producing state in Nigeria, and possibly surpass it. It has done so in security and will do it again in the other sectors of the economy, including rice production.