By Muhammad Nasir Bashir
Dutse – The Jigawa Government says it will soon empower 400 youths to cultivate 200 hectares of rice in Birninkudu Local Government Area of the state.
Alhaji Jamilu Usaman-Danmalam, the Special Assistant to Gov. Muhammad Badaru on Rice Production and Value Change, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse on Thursday.
Usaman-Danmalam said that the youth would be engaged to grow rice on the state government-owned Farara-Zuma Fadama site in Birninkudu.
According to him, government has concluded all arrangements for this exercise; all the inputs are on ground.
‘‘We are now compiling the names of the beneficiaries and as soon as we are through we will just distribute the items for them to commence.
‘‘This is part of our plans to empower and encourage youths to go into farming.
‘‘The gesture is to enable the beneficiaries become self-reliant, it is also to make agriculture attractive and acceptable to youths in the state,’’ he said.
He explained that the gesture was to encourage dry season rice production under the state’s government cluster/group farming initiative.
The governor’s aide added that youths would be clustered whereby two young persons would cultivate one hectare of land.
He said that the state government would provide the youth with seeds, fertiliser, insecticide, including, 200 prices of water pumps at subsidised prices.
Jamilu-Danmalam further told NAN that 200 tube wells had been sunk by the government at the FADAMA site to ensure availability of water for rice cultivation.
The special assistant said that the names of the beneficiaries were undergoing screening, and assured them that the government would bring off-takers to buy rice produced by youths.
He said the youth would pay back the soft loan after they must have cultivated and sold the rice.
‘‘After the exercise, the up off-takers will come and buy from the youths, then we will take our money for the provided farm inputs and they will get their share too,’’ he said.