Niger State government said it would engage 50,000 rice farmers to cultivate 50,000 hectares of farmland across the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Niger State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ibrahim Garba, disclosed this at the flag-off ceremony of the 2019 Dry Season input distribution organised by International Fund for Agricultural Development Value Chain Development Programme Additional Financing (IFAD-VCDP AF) in Mokwa Local Government Area of the state.
According to him, the state would take advantage of the closure of the border to improve the yield of rice in order to boost their productivity.
“With the border closure, it is time for the farmers to take advantage of dry season farming. The dry season should be utilised and not be used to rest. Niger State should be able to feed Nigeria and that is why we are taking advantage of the dry season farming. The government has decided to cultivate rice all year round,” Garba said.
The Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP AF, Dr. Mathew Ahmed, said IFAD has made arrangements to provide agro-inputs for 2,250 farmers across eight local government areas in the state.
He said with the inputs, the farmers are expected to produce 6.5 to 8 metric tonnes per hectare instead of the three metric tonnes being produced without agro inputs.
Ahmed also urged the farmers to take farming seriously now especially with the closure of the border, urging the farmers to embrace dry season farming which would go a long way in boosting rice production in the nation.
He stated that the agro inputs are not free but are 50 per cent subsidized, urging them to use the inputs judiciously and not sell it in the market.
One of the beneficiary farmers, Jubril Abubakar, said farming needs both financial and equipment support expressing optimism that the agro-inputs will go a long way to boost farmers production.
SOURCE: THE NATION