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 farm inputs in Edo.
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.
Represented by Mr Aliyu Suleiman from the ministry, Babangida said the intervention was aimed at supporting 1,500 farmers in 10 states including Edo, Kogi, Oyo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Gombe, Katsina, Sokoto, Ogun and Benue.
Babangida noted that 150 small holder 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 is the complete inputs needed to cultivate one hectare of farm land
“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.
She urged the farmers to make judicious use of the inputs so as to encourage government do more for them.
According to her, there should be no diversion or sale of the inputs, adding that government had put mechanism in place to monitor and deal with any farmer who diverted or sold the inputs.
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.
Omoragbon disclosed that the farmers were selected by the Edo ADP in collaboration with FMARD state office from among the Edo chapter of rice farmers association.
He assured that the state office of FMARD would monitor the farmers in their farms and provide the needed extension services throughout the production period.
In his remarks, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, commended the ministry 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), Edo Chapter, Mr Emmanuel Odigie, thanked the Federal Government for the inputs.
Odigie also promised to monitor the farmers’ activities to ensure that the inputs were not diverted or soldnan.