Retired Permanent Secretary from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, envisions Edo State as a potential agricultural powerhouse, specifically in rice cultivation.
Expressing his commitment to revitalizing agriculture in the state, he urges women and youths to engage in rice farming, leveraging the historical prominence of Edo, particularly Esanland, in this sector.
Umakhihe laments the decline in Edo’s rice production, notably the renowned ‘Ekpoma Rice’ and ‘Illushi Rice.’ He pledges to revive the glory days when these varieties were among the country’s best local rice.
Highlighting the challenges faced, Umakhihe addresses the neglect of agriculture by the government, impacting rice farming in Edo State. As an APC chieftain and governorship aspirant in Edo, he unveils plans to address water scarcity and poor infrastructure in rural communities. He emphasizes the importance of providing potable water and improving road networks to facilitate the transportation of agricultural produce to markets.
Umakhihe’s vision includes reintroducing an irrigation system to enhance farming in Esanland, drawing inspiration from the successful model in the Northern part of the country. He emphasizes that adopting irrigation methods can significantly boost productivity in Edo State’s agricultural landscape.