The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on Wednesday, empowered 150 rice farmers with improved rice seeds and other farm inputs in Edo State.
Distributing the farm inputs to the farmers in Benin, Hajia Karima Babangida, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Abuja, said the effort was to ensure food sufficiency in Nigeria.
Represented by Aliyu Suleiman from the ministry, Babangida said the intervention was aimed at supporting 1,500 farmers (150 in each state) in 10 states of Edo, Kogi, Oyo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Gombe, Katsina, Sokoto, Ogun and Benue.
Babangida added that 150 smallholder farmers were selected from each of the benefitting states to cultivate one hectare of rice farm each.
She explained that each rice farmer would get 50kg of certified seeds, four bags of NPK, two bags of Urea, one litre of soil Amender, four litres of pesticides and five litres of pre/post-emergence herbicides.
“This (the package) is the complete inputs needed to cultivate one hectare of farmland. It would boost the ongoing efforts of the ministry on its various interventions aimed at alleviating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and flood on farmers and increase production in the country,” he said
Babangida, however, appealed to the state office of FMARD and the state ADP to monitor the activities and provide extension services to the farmers.
The state Director of Edo FMARD office, Mr Wellington Omoragbon, thanked the Federal Government for providing series of agricultural programmes to empower farmers in the state.
Acting Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Agriculture, Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for the kind gesture.
Represented by a director in the ministry, Mr Princewill Igbinedion, Aikhuomobhogbe urged the farmers to take advantage of the inputs to create wealth and increase rice production in the state.
Also speaking, the state Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Emmanuel Odigie, thanked the government for the inputs.