Niger State governor, Mohammed Umar Bago, has assured Nigerians and potential investors that the state would soon top chart in rice production.
Governor Bago stated this yesterday in Abuja when he paid a courtesy call on the Ministers of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari and Abdullahi Sabi.
He disclosed that already the State was already ahead in terms of rice padding and disclosed that 150,000 hectares of land had been donated to the Federal Government for the dry season farming.
He said: “Niger State is already the headquarters of rice padding in Nigeria. However, the production of rice in Niger State has not been optimised.
“With technology and mechanisation that we have brought in, we are confident that the 1 million hectares of land for the year 2024, would be used judiciously.
“And we have already offered 150,000 hectares of land to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security for the Federal Government initiative for the dry season farming. Be assured that in the next news of agrarian states, Niger State will lead.”
He said his government had moved away from the archaic method in farming as sophisticated technology had been introduced.
According to him, farm inputs like seedlings, fertilizer and pesticides get to the real farmers unlike what was obtainable where fake farmers amassed inputs for themselves.
“What we doing is that we have abandoned the hitherto approach to farming. Now the state government is investing in land preparation. So, the people on the farms are the real farmers.
The new register for farmers is accurate and we have direct access to these farmers and whatever we take to the farm gets to the farmers directly,” he added.
On the post-harvest losses, the governor said: “A lot of investment is going into storage. I agree with you that a lot of food items get spoilt before they get to the farm.
“Now with this approach that we have brought in, we will provide access roads to the farmers in rural areas and alo provide storage facilities for where those farm estates are.”
Kyari pointed out that “the President is concerned about the capacity of farmers to access agro-inputs even at the current subsidized rate as observed during the last intervention for Dry Season Wheat Production Programme.”
He added: “To ameliorate this, further support to farmers is underway. While Mr. President through FMAFS continues to support multifaceted interventions to farmers at the sub-national level, it is clear however that agro-inputs alone may not suffice in our collective efforts in boosting food production at the desired levels to reduce food inflation and enhance the welfare of farmers and overall productivity.
“It is important as part of the partnership for states to further support interventions.
“A week ago I was elated to be in Kebbi where the state government distributed 6,000 Solar-powered Water Pumps (first instalment of 12,000), Power Tillers and other mechanical agricultural equipment and implements.
“During the Dry Season Wheat Production Programme, Jigawa State Government also took a number of complementary measures of intervention including the Governor’s delegation monitoring of inputs distribution with the result that they are surpassing their allotted 40,000 hectares and aiming at 50,000heactares in Wheat production.”