The Federal Government says 400, 000 rice farmer will benefit from its dry season farming incentives under its 2013/2014 Growth Enhancement Support Scheme.
Dr Andrew Efisue, Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on Rice Value Chain Agenda, announced the incentives when he met with stakeholders in Bauchi on Friday.
Efisue said the beneficiaries would be drawn from the 19 participating states, adding that the farmers would be supported with inputs to help boost their production capacity.
He said each farmer would receive three bags of fertiliser at 50 per cent discount and 25 kg improve rice seeds for free.
“The farmers will also get water pumps at 75 per cent discount. Those in Bauchi and Gombe States, in particular, will receive 80 (3HP) water pumps each.
“The pumps will serve 13,000 farmers whose data have been captured in the states.
“Thirteen (7HP) water pumps will also be distributed to farmers in Bauchi, while those in Gombe will get 12 (7HP) water pumps.
“This effort produced more than one million tonnes of rice last year in dry season farming alone, with just over 200,000 farmers drawn from 10 states.
“We intend to double or even triple the production this year,” he said.
Efisue explained that the incentives would be distributed between Dec. 9 and Dec. 14, noting that it was part government’s efforts to stop rice importation by 2015.
He advised the farmers to utilise the inputs to expand their production capacity, pointing out that the problems of processing and marketing had been taking care off through value chain initiative.
He said 15 integrated rice mills had been established in Kano, Lagos, Benue, Kebbi, Jigawa, Anambra, Imo, and Niger.
According to him, the mills have a combined capacity to process 850,000 tonnes of rice.
“The Federal Government in collaboration with USAID, is also planning to establish rice collection centres across the federation for easy evacuation of paddy by the millers.
“Plan is also underway to increase tariff for the importation of rice by 110 per cent in a bid to make foreign rice very expensive,” he said.
In his remark, Alhaji Mohammed Yusuf, the Federal Director of Agriculture in Bauchi, called on stakeholders to monitor the distribution exercise to ensure that only genuine farmers received the inputs.
He said with the current attention given to the agriculture sector, oil would no longer play major role in the revenue generation of this country.
The Chairman, Bauchi State Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Dr Yahaya Yusuf, commended the Federal Government for the effort.
Yusuf said with the support, rice farming had become lucrative with farmers harvesting more bags of paddy per hectare.
“With the current price of rice of between N5,000 and N6,000 per bag, our farmers are now smiling to the bank.
“This is a clear indication of the profitability of the business,’’ Yusuf said.