The Federal Government in a bid to support smallholder rice farmers in nine states of the federation has received farm inputs from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
According to a NAN report, this development was made known in a statement issued by the Deputy Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Eno Olotu, on Tuesday in Abuja.
She explained that the farm inputs received from the Japanese agency would to support smallholder rice farmers in nine beneficiary states, which includes Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi. This in her words will help to improve rice production and food security in Nigeria.
The Representative of JICA in Nigeria, Mr Nakagawa Takayuki, stressed that the support was in further collaboration with the ministry to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. He added that with the support of the Japanese Government, JICA would assist the smallholder farmers to increase their rice production and improve its quality.
The Director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Mrs Karima Babaginda, who received the inputs on behalf of the ministry, expressed appreciation to JICA for supporting rice farmers to scale up rice production in Nigeria.
She said that with the support from JICA and other donor agencies, Nigeria would not only be self-sufficient in rice production but would soon be a major exporter, as the largest producer of rice in Africa currently.
What you should know
- According to the statement of Mrs Babaginda, with about 500,000 metric tons to bridge the gap, Nigeria would soon meet the seven million metric tons production capacity needed to attain self-sufficiency status in rice production.
- The Ministry of Agriculture would work closely with key stakeholders and the smallholder farmers to monitor the distribution and utilization of the inputs to the 1,500 small scale rice farmers in the nine pilot states.
- The items donated by JICA to the ministry include 1,500 bags of Certified Rice Seeds, 6,000 bags of NPK Fertilizer, 3,000 bags of Urea Fertilizer, 1, 500 litres of Soul Amender, 7,500 litres of herbicide and 6,000 litres of pesticide.
What they are saying
Takayuki in his statement said:
- “This will help to support the efforts made by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in reducing the impact of COVID-19. On behalf of the Government of Japan, JICA is providing agricultural inputs to 1,500 small scale rice farmers in nine states for dry season rice farming.
- “We also plan to provide the inputs to 1,000 small scale farmers in 10 states, namely, Borno, Gombe, Kogi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Ogun, Taraba and Oyo for the wet season farming.”