Dry season farming: Niger to produce one million metric tonnes of rice

Dry season farming: Niger to produce one million metric tonnes of rice

Sunday, October 30, 2016 9:26 pm

Governor Sani Bello

Governor Sani Bello

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello said adequate provision has been made to enable Rice farmers in the state produce one million metric tonnes of rice by the end of this year’s dry season.

He said this just as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh disclosed federal government’s plan to provide irrigation equipment to rice farmers in the state to enable them meet the target.

The duo spoke during the inspection tour of rice farms at Danchitagi in Lavun Local Government area of the state under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Program by the Minister, Chairman Presidential Committee on Rice Paddy, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the nation’s apex bank.

Expressing his administration’s determination to ensure federal government policy of self sustenance in Rice production,Gov. Sani Bello said 90,000 square kilometres await cultivation in the state and stressed the need for a template on the technical specifications from the presidential committee.

He expressed satisfaction over the support from Federal government and CBN, noting that the scheme has created jobs for the youths in the state but called on the apex government to support the state with irrigation system for its dry season farming.

The Minister of Agriculture who commended the commitment of government and farmers in the state to the realisation of federal government policy on Rice said that about N2 billion has been expended in the state through the CBN anchor borrowers program.

He then promised the provision of irrigation facilities which include, solar power water pumping machines, small rice milling facilities, threshers and combine harvesters to ease Rice processing and boost economy.

He said 1,700 of the over 2,000 rice farmers from 57 cooperative societies that have benefited from the program in the state are engaged in dry season farming while another 907 cotton farmers are to benefit from the scheme in the state.

Chief Ogbeh expressed optimism that the country will soon be self sufficient in Rice and for export to neighbouring countries.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele applauded the Niger state government and the cooperative societies for their zeal in cultivating over 30,000 hectares of land for the anchor borrowers program. He confirmed that N2 billion had been disbursed to 14,000 farmers in the state so far under the program.

He assured of speedy process of the scheme by considering the comparative advantage of Niger state in rice production adding that the state is in competition with Kebbi state.

Kebbi State governor, Senator Atiku Badugu appreciated the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring sustainable dry season farming in the country and actualizing the feeding of Nigerians by ourselves.

The leader of the anchor scheme cooperatives, Mallam Ahmed Muhammadu expressed happiness over the CBN program but said that they were challenged with lack of irrigation equipment which if not provided would hinder the actualization of the dry season farming in the area.

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