Rice production inputs have been distributed by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), on Monday, to farmers in the South-West zone of the country.
The event, which took place at Moor Plantation, Ibadan, had farmers’ representatives from Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Lagos states.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, who was represented at the event by Alhaji Bashir Usman, Deputy Director and National Coordinator for Rice Value Chain, presented the items to the farmers.
According to him, the federal government, through the ministry, has introduced an array of agricultural programmes and projects to ensure food security and long term economic growth of the nation.
“The Nigerian agricultural sector has been focusing on the conventional paradigm of harnessing resources over the years to sustain food security.
“Presently, the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development is committed to making the sector a pivot for economic stabilisation in diversifying, generating employment and creating wealth in the country.
“One of the ways in which the ministry is working to achieve its objectives is through the promotion of various value chains,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ministry also organised a two-day training for rice farmers across South-West states on ‘Good Agricultural Practices and Safe/Effective Use of Agrochemicals to increase Rice Production.’
The minister said the best agricultural practices were voluntary guidelines for farmers to reduce risk of microbial contamination related to food-borne illness on their farms.
According to Abubakar, the voluntary guidelines are expected to be observed at each stage of agriculture, such as in soil preparation, sowing and manure application, harvesting and processing.
The minister noted that plants could only yield well and resist pests and disease if they were grown under the most suitable conditions.
“It, therefore, becomes necessary to sensitise farmers and other stakeholders along the rice value chain through this workshop to spread the basic concept of agricultural best practices in rice production.
“To also sensitise them on effective/safe use of agrochemicals to increase rice production,’’ he said.
In her address, the Oyo State Coordinator, FMARD, Dr Kakulu Omonele, enjoined the participants to make the most of the training and step it down to others in their various associations.
Mr Victor Korede, National Vice-President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), South-West, Ms Olayinka Ogunlaja, appreciated the federal government for intensifying efforts at ensuring that agricultural inputs and knowledge on best practices were provided to farmers.
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