Partners with CBN to help 10,000 farmers

The Niger State government has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to help 10,000 rice farmers shift from subsistence to commercial farming.

Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Mohammed Abdullahi, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, said the collaboration would ensure food security in the state and the country at large.

He added that the programme was aimed at supporting rice farmers with inputs and labour, to enable them produce enough to complement governments’ efforts at realising food security for the country.

“Government has set up a committee under the Niger State Rice Investment Consortium to work closely with the CBN to ensure that the state remains the leading rice producer in Nigeria,’’ the commissioner said.

“Seeds, fertilisers, and tractors will be distributed to farmers to enable them produce enough rice.”

The commissioner explained that the number of tractors to be distributed to the farmers in form of subsidy would depend on number of hectares of land a farmer is able to cultivate.

“For a farmer that is cultivating up to 25,000 hectares of land, government would subsidise it by 40 percent,” he said.

“You can see that with these arrangements, many farmers will open up a lot of fields, thereby going into commercial rice cultivation.”

According to Abdullahi, each of the farmers would cultivate two hectares of land, making a total of 20,000 hectares of land by the 10,000 farmers.

He said production level of rice in the state stood at about 500,000 metric tonnes per annum.

The commissioner however said government was making efforts to increase the production to over one million metric tonnes per annum in the next three years.

Abdulahi said the state Ministry of Agriculture had extension service workers who would advise the farmers on how to cultivate improved varieties of rice seeds.

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