By Tukur Muntari
Bekwara, (Cross River) – Some rice farmers in Nya-Nya Idigwe, Bekwara Local Government Area of Cross River, have appealed to the State Government to support them with interest- free loans.
The farmers under the aegis of Rebuild Nigeria Rice Farmers Group, made the call when a team from Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG 2000) visited the area on Thursday.
NAN reports that the SG 2000 officials visited the area to assess how rice farmers have utilised new farming technologies being promoted under the rice production programme to enhance productivity.
Mr Ogwuni John, the group’s Spokesman, said granting interest-free loans to the rural rice farmers would enable them to expand their activities.
John further said that the demand for loan became necessary following successes recorded in the cultivation of Faro Rice Seed variety which had proven to be of high yield.
“The Faro rice is a long grain, it is popularly called magic rice among local farmers here; this is because of its high yield quality,” he said.
He said that farmers from neighbouring communities were already adopting the new farming technologies introduced to them by the SG 2000 in 2014.
The spokesman said that the major challenge confronting rice farmers in the area was the issue of birds which ate up their crops at the level of maturity and harvest.
According to him, the interest-free loan will also enable the farmers to adopt available mechanisms to ward off the birds and stop further attacks on their crops.
He also urged the SG 2000 to provide more fertilizers and other inputs to the farmers to ensure more improved and productive farming.
“The SG 2000 has been of immense benefit to us, I am currently harvesting between eight and 10 bags from a farm where I used to harvest three bags before their coming,” he said.
In his remarks, the SG 2000 country director, Prof. Sani Ahmed-Miko, advised the farmers to use fishing nets to cover their rice farms to avoid further attacks from birds.
“This is a traditional method of checking attacks from birds, although it involves money, it is very effective in driving birds away,” he said.
Ahmed-Mike urged the farmers to avail the SG 2000 technologies to other farmers in the area to ensure massive production of rice.
Also speaking, Idris Garko, Thematic Coordinator, Crop Productivity Enhancement, urged the rice farmers to make effective use of the technological support from SG 2000.
“Effective use of this technology will enhance your productivity, it will also reduce post-harvest losses and improve your income,” Garko said. (NAN)