Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on Thursday, distributed starter packs worth N1,500,000 to 30 Rice Farmers in the South-East to increase Rice production in the zone.
The event which took place at the Enugu zonal office of FMARD, had farmers from Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia and the host state, Enugu, in attendance.
Ikengaonline reports that, 25kg of certified rice seeds of FARO 44 variety, three litres of 2,4-D post emergence herbicide and two litres of liquid fertilizer were given to each farmer.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar, said the Ministry was poised to making Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production and for export.
Represented by, Mr Arthur Mbuba, the state director FMARD, Anambra, the Minister said, the purpose of the intervention was to bolster rice production in all parts of the country.
“We are also producing and distributing Flood Certified Seeds of FARO 66 and 67 to farmers along the riverine areas to mitigate the effect of flood as witnessed recently.
“The Ministry provides farm equipment in form of tillers, trans-planters, rice reapers, thrashers and other simple farm tools to smallholder farmers in different locations at subsidised rate,” he said.
According to him, the government decided to identify genuine rice farmers, smallholder farmers in conjunction with state Agricultural Development Project (ADPs).
“We also work with state ministries of agriculture, natural resources, rice farmers’ associations and other relevant stakeholders in the value chain for continued support to farmers in line with our mandate,” he said.
Mr Peter Nwaogor, state coordinator in Enugu State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said FMARD are seriously working towards food security in the country.
Nwaogor, who represented, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Enugu State, Mr Mathew Idu said, FMARD was using various activities, programmes technologies to improve farming in the country.
“Government policy on rice production has been to generate massive employment, eliminate hunger and poverty in the communities,” he said.
Mr Ayeleke Dauda of Federal Department of Agriculture told the farmers to utilise the opportunity for their own interest.
While explaining good agricultural practice and effective use of Agro-chemical in rice production, Dauda said that, rice do well in dry season than raining season.
“Rice farming in dry season is free from, pastes attack and devoid of the diseases that go with stagnant water and urged the farmers to use soil that retains water.
“In rice farming, nursery remains the best, and transplanting should start between 14 days to 21 days and ensure that you apply other things at he right time,” he said.
Dr. Benjamin Puja from FMARD South-East regional office described the programme as a wonderful one.
Puja who represented, Mr Kehis Felix the regional director advised the farmers to be committed as there are more benefits to farming.
Mr Linus Nkwuda, chairman of Abakaliki Rice Mill, Ebonyi, said he feels happy being part of the project and wish to use the opportunity to appreciate the Federal Government.
“Federal Government has done great in terms of empowering the youths, farmers, and I will say this is one among many that have been coming farmers’ way.
“This intervention will go along way in re-positioning the farmers and the new variety will improve production, good yield, capacity and food supply in the country,” Nkwuda said.