The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has received farm inputs from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to support small holder rice farmers in nine states of the federation.
The Deputy Director of Information, in the ministry, Mrs Eno Olotu, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
The beneficiary states according to her, are Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi.
Mrs Karima Babaginda, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture(FDA), 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.
Babaginda said that Nigeria would also soon meet the seven million metric tons production capacity to attain its self sufficiency status, with just about 500,000 metric tons to bridge the gap.
She assured that the ministry would closely monitor the distribution and utilisation of the inputs to the beneficiary farmers in the nine pilot states.
Representative of JICA in Nigeria, Mr Nakagawa Takayuki said that the support was in further collaboration with the ministry to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic challenges.
Takayuki said that with the support by the Japanese Government, JICA would assist the small holder farmers increase their rice production and improve its quality.
“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,” he said.
Takayuki pledged JICA’s support to sustain its collaborative efforts with the ministry in supporting extension service providers and small scale farmers through capacity and infrastructural development.
He described agriculture as one of the major employers of labour and source of wealth creation to the Nigerian economy.
He said that committed efforts of relevant stakeholders were required to continue to promote and develop the sector.
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.(NAN)
Jan 12 2020 @ 19:30 GMT