IGBO EKUREKU: The Real Owners & Producers Of Acclaimed ‘Abakaliki Rice’ – By Kelvin Ezor

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Kelvin Ezor|25 January 2017 Historically, the origin of the 'Acclaimed Abakaliki Rice' is traced to Igbo Ekureku. The inhabitants of Igbo-Ekureku of Agbo clan in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State, are predominantly farmers. As an agrarian rural society, rice cultivation is their main stay of agriculture amongst other crops. The homeliness and aesthetic nature of the community that borders Ebonyi state both north-east-west wards always beckons on travellers on the busy Abaomege-Itigidi-Ugep Highway, admiring the adorable grains of rice cultivated in gigantic rice paddies along the High way. Over the years, the improvished farmers have cried outloud to both state and local governments to intervene in improving their production by way of improved varieties, provision of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides at a subsidized prices as well as modernizing, packaging and promotion of their products but their cries wasn't heard. Similarly, concerted efforts of prominent intellectuals from the community to the state government; yet, nothing good came out. While, the Igbo merchants from our neighbouring states of Ebonyi, Imo, Abia, Enugu and Anambra have consistently took advantage of our neglect by our governments; buy the rice measured in jute bags, take it to their state where it is processed, stored and sold as 'Abakaliki Rice' in Nigeria. Often, the Igbo traders buy the rice from Igbo Ekureku farmers at very cheap prices. Thus, resulting to the claims by the Abakaliki traders to the sweat of the Igbo Ekureku farmers as producers of the rice, which they have been attracting loans from the Federal Government and the World Bank, running into millions of US dollars while the real producers remain hewers of wood and drawers of water. Igbo Ekureku is pepertually improvished because they have nobody to intervene for them. It's my earnest prayer that the Ayade led government in the state would help these poor farmers out! Kelvin Ezor
Writes from Calabar.
08060468445. donkelie_ezor@yahoo.com 
*Excerpts from Dan Amor's 2015: That Agbo May Be One.