NGO Urges Rice Farmers To Embrace Production Technology

Prof. Sani Ahmed-Miko, Country Director, Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG 2000), when he visited some Community Demonstration plots at at Dakaiyawa village, Kaugama Local Government area, Jigawa on Wednesday advised rice farmers in the country to embrace the improved rice production technology introduced by the organisation.

Some officials of the NGO were in the area to assess performance of rice farmers who benefited from the organisation’s intervention programmes.

He said there was need for the farmers to embrace the technology because it increases productivity and yield.

He said the technology also strengthen capacities of farmers and National extension systems in Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia and Uganda.

“The essence is to fight poverty and ensure food security; Farro 44 rice variety matures between 90 and 100 days and yield range between four to eight metric tons per hectare.

“Land preparation for rice cultivation should be fairly levelled to allow for Water retention,” he said.

The Country Director said the current strategy in agricultural technology transfer was farmer participatory and demand deriven through farmer learning platforms at community levels as a value chain concepts.

Ahmed-Miko said the visit would enable journalists and officials of NGO to hear from the beneficiaries about the improved technologies being promoted.

The coordinator of SG 2000 in Jigawa, Alhaji Musa Adamu, said no fewer than 35 extension workers were working under the organisation in the state.

He said rice farmers in the state had had accepted the planting technology and the use of improved rice seeds.

“Rice farmers in the state are adopting the technologies and based on their assessment they are seeing improvement.”

He commended the farmers for adopting the new transplanting pattern and spacing between plant and the line as this allows for easy application of fertilizer.


Hope For Nigerian As Minister Vows Plans Would Stop Rice Importation

The Federal Government has commended the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the completion of rice mill in Elele-Alimini, Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, made the commendation during a meeting with NDDC and the Elephant Group in Port Harcourt on Monday.

He expressed optimism that the mill would ensure food sufficiency in the country in addition to creating thousands of jobs for youths in the Niger Delta region.

According to him, the rice mill project is part of the Federal Government’s  drive to ensure food security and end rice importation within the shortest possible time.

“Before the Buhari-led administration took office; the Federal Government spent five million dollars daily on rice importation to the country.

“NDDC has over the years started building a rice mill which has not been put to use,’’ he said.’

He explained that the government embarked on the project is because the region had potential to grow rice in commercial quantity even without fertilizer.

“The Federal Government believes that the time has come for the country to use the rice mill NDDC has built to create employment and guarantee food security for the masses.

“The Federal Government wants to make the nation to be self- sufficient in rice production at least by the year 2018,” he said.

Lokpobiri said that Elephant Group, an indigenous company, would manage the rice mill and employ thousands of workers at the facility.

He called on state governments and stakeholders to key into the Federal Government’s drive to ensure rice sufficiency in the country.

The Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, said that the commission spent N1.5 billion on the rice mills in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.

He said that facilities, completed 10 years ago, were left to rot by previous governing boards and management of the commission.

Prices Of Food To Fall Soon: Ogbeh

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has given Nigerian hope concerning the prize of food in the country, promising that it will fall soon. He disclosed that the Federal Government will stop

He disclosed that the Federal Government will stop the importation of rice this year. Explaining the reason behind the policy, Ogbeh hinted that the country has enough internal production that can sustain home consumption and meet foreign exchange earnings that can guarantee diversification of the economy.

Audu Ogbeh In order to further boost internal production of the commodity and enhance the country’s comparative advantages in rice and yam production, Ogbeh stated that the federal government will sign a memorandum of understanding with Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) and Ekiti State Government in the two critical sectors.

“Of recent, prices of diesel increased from N130 pr litre to about N280, which makes the cost of tractors to move up to N14 million from N7 million. The interest rate on every loan given to farmers also went up, so the aggregate of all these factors caused an increase in the prices of food items. “We are concerned with the plights of Nigerians. We knew that many are hungry but we are working around it because it doesn’t speak well of us in government that people are hungry.”



Why We Banned Imported Rice In Ebonyi —Gov Umahi

Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, in an interview with Collins Nnabuife who recently visited the state, explained why he banned the sale of imported rice in the state. He also advised the government on how to stop rice importation in the country.

Umahi said that they had decided to focus greatly on what they had to generate funds saying;

“We are known for agriculture and solid mineral, since we don’t have other means of raising our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) other than agriculture and solid mineral and of course export of human resources, so these are the reasons why we decided to focus on some of these areas that we have a comparative advantage.”

Talking about his achievement in rice production in the past two years the governor of the state said;

I must commend the minister of agriculture and rural development very highly for  his programmes of course initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari. He has done very well in terms of agricultural programmes for the state and for the nation at large.

Let me point out that the programme in agriculture have brought down the forex, before now we imported a lot of food items into the country, and you won’t forget that the dollar was rising to a dollar for N560 to N600, but when the programme in agriculture started, the dollar started falling.

I also commend the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Minister of Finance and the Chief of Staff, they have put their programmes together and the states are very well positioned to do better in agriculture.

I can say that in the area of rice production with the assistance of the Federal Government, their encouragement and their initiative, we have done quite well, we have been able to encourage farmers. We have been able to demonstrate that having one hectare of land for rice is better than being a local government councilor, so we launched One Man One Hectare in Ebonyi State, and that has really encouraged our people, we also borrowed N2 billion, N5 billion and another N3 billion from the federal government.

We want to domesticate rice production in the state, we are going beyond individual production, we are now beginning to see how we can institute rice mega cities in each local government, whereby we have 5000 hectares of land dedicated for rice production in each of our local government areas.

Already we have four mega rice mills in operation and of course you also see the private people milling with their traditional machines, we have imported another three sets of rice mills which we will install in the next three months. The idea is that before the middle of next year, we will be able to have one rice mill in each local government in the state, we have also introduced the system of standardization in terms of pricing and quality, so that when you have paddy to sell, you have to come to our buying center at the local government, so we will be able to weigh the rice and know how much you will be paid. We have prices for the different types of rice, for a particular quality of milled rice, we have a uniform price, we should also be able to monitor the quality of our rice, we are known all over the world for Abakaliki rice, we are very proud of that and we want to ensure that we maintain that standard and that rating.

Rice Farmers Urged To Increase Productivity

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa on Thursday during a town hall meeting with people of Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state, has urged rice farmers in the state to increase their productivity so as to meet the growing demand of the citizens for rice.

He encouraged the farmers to put in more effort to boost their production, taking into cognizance the Federal Government’s plans to fully enforce its ban on rice importation.

Okowa particularly commended the people of Illah for their commitment toward rice production and urged them to take the business seriously.

“There are indications that the Federal Government will totally ban the importation of rice; therefore, our rice farmers should boost their production to meet with the needs of the people and benefit from likely incentives.

“We are taking the growing of rice very serious because the Federal Government may ban the importation of rice completely and rice farmers will benefit from Federal Government’s assistance.

“We are also encouraging our farmers to participate in the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which does not only provide funds for farmers but also ensures that their products get to the market,’’ he said.

Okowa, however, noted that most farmers in the state had yet to access funding from the CBN-anchored scheme due to improper documentation.


Kaduna Rice Farmers Want Early Loans Provision

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kaduna State chapter, through the Secretary Mr Ishaya Audu, has called for the early provision of loans to its members to enhance rice production during the 2017 cropping season.

Audu said that inadequate farm inputs, implements, as well as loans, had hampered rice production in the previous seasons in the state.

“Our farmers produce at a loss due to lack of access to fertilisers, agro-chemicals, high yield seeds and tractors as well as loan facilities to boost rice production,” Audu said.

He also said that members of the association did not participate in both the 2016 Federal and State Governments Anchor Borrower Programmes as it was late for wetland rice producers.

He said RIFAN members could not produce more than three tonnes of rice in a hectare in the previous years.

“With the number of rice farmers in the state, the production will yield higher if we get access to inputs needed to commence production early in the 2017 season,” Audu said.

He, however, said that the farmers were now ready to access the loan facility under the CBN Anchor borrowers programme with 7,000 members already registered.

“The implementation of the programme began in August 2016, and that time was late for wet season farmers to engage in rice production, but now we are ready,” he said.

The RIFAN secretary appealed to governments to partner with the private sector to establish milling centres in the state to process rice.