Lagos Empowers, Trains 800 Rice Farmers On Production Practices

The empowerment tools were handed over to the beneficiaries at the beginning of a 3-day capacity building and training of the rice farmers on current production practices in the rice value chain.

The exercise, which will get the farmers trained on global best practices and the most effective ways to grow their rice, will take place in 20 locations cut across Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry, Gboyinbo, Idena, Obada, Ito Ikin, and Ise.

The State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, who gave out the empowerment tools, explained that this strategic intervention by the state government was informed by the need to boost the farming activities of rice farmers in the state.

According to her, the empowerment was also geared towards ensuring the sustainable supply of paddy by the rice farmers particularly bearing in mind the imminent completion of the state-owned Imota Rice Mill Project.

“It is expected that if these farming techniques are adopted by the farmers in the next planting season, it will result in an increase in paddy production in the state to an expected average yield of four tonnes per hour,” the commissioner said.

She said the capacity building and training was also expected to give all participating farmers the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in modern and improved rice farming techniques.

Besides, she said the training would also expose the farmers to efficient harvesting methods by using the most up-to-date agricultural practices to ensure maximum output, improved yield as well as to derive maximum return on investment.

“Due to the fact that the state has a limited agricultural cultivable land area and with the increasing rate of small and large scale rice mills across the nation, there is a strain on the state getting a constant supply of paddy to feed the mill when it becomes fully operational.

“It is to this end that the ministry has embarked on the sensitisation of rice farmers to train and disseminate the current production practices and empowerment geared towards the sustainable supply of paddy by Lagos rice farmers towards the Imota Rice Mill Project,” the commissioner said.

Olusanya disclosed that the 32metric tonne per hour Rice Mill at Imota was nearing completion, stressing that at full capacity, it would produce 115,200metric tonnes of milled rice which would require about 280,000metric tonnes of paddy per year, hence the need to stock enough paddy to ensure a smooth take-off of the mill.

According to her, the training was necessary in order to bridge the rice demand deficit of the residents of the state and the Federal Government’s current ban on importation of rice.

“The administration of His Excellency, Mr Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu, is committed to the delivery of his campaign promises to Lagosians as embedded in the ‘THEMES Agenda’.

“An important component of it is making Lagos State a 21st Century Economy in which agriculture and food security have critical roles to play. Hence, the commitment of the government to construct the 32MTPH Rice Mill at Imota in order to bridge the rice demand deficit of the state and indeed, the nation especially due to the current ban on importation of rice into the country,” the commissioner stated.

“We would be monitoring these farmers to see how their yield improvement is going to be such that we can take the training forward from there while also helping them around empowerment issues such as land clearing tractorization, swam buggies and others which I believe we would be able to provide for them.

“The rice will be very healthy. A lot of what we import is over-processed and what we end up getting is the white rice which means that the bran is completely off which is the most proteinous part of the rice grain. What we are going to be producing here is local rice but it is going to be of very high quality. That is why we will be getting the improved seedlings from IITA,” Olusanya affirmed.

Responding, the National Deputy President, Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria, Mr Segun Atho, expressed his appreciation to the state government for the training initiative.

He noted that the training and capacity building would go a long way in providing the needed paddy for rice production for the nearly-completed Imota Rice Mill, while simultaneously improving the economic status of rice farmers in the state.



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