By SundiataPOST, Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Kaduna State Government said it would train 300,000 farmers to boost rice production.
The Minister, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, represented by the Director, State Agricultural Development Programme, Alhaji Tijani Isiaku, said this during a one-day training for farmers on rice production.
Adesina said the training was aimed at equipping both large and small scale farmers on modern technique in rice production.
“ What the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is trying to do is to encourage farmers to boost rice production through the use of modern technique, which will yield more production massively.’’
He said the state had the second largest number of registered rice farmers, and advised others to register to benefit from loan, training and assistance that would promote exportation.
The minister decried the high quantity of rice imported into the country, adding that efforts were in place to promote rice production for exportation, increase in revenue and job creation.
Also, the Assistant Director, in charge of Rice, in the ministry, Mr Andrew Ikadeunu, said the government target was that by 2014, the nation would be self-sufficient.
Ikadeunu added that by 2015, it would start exportation on rice production.
He urged farmers to participate in the Federal Government programmes on availability of rice production equipment at very low interest rates to boost production, reduce cost of production and generate more money.
A lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim, said the training would focused on rice value chain – production, processing, utilisation, marketing and storage of rice.
“We have to produce a product that competes with any part of the world; most of the rice that is imported into this country is mostly rice that has been in storage for long.
“ Those countries do not like it, and then they sell it to us very cheap, we import it, and then we feed our people with it.
“That is why some of the rice smell, they are rancid, but yet our people are consuming,’’ he said.
Ibrahim, therefore, urged the government to provide all the structures that would enhance rice production and exportation.
He said government should also address the challenges of rice processing equipment, inadequate market and storage facilities for produce.