FG to make rice affordable by April

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THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, recently declared that the Federal Government would stabilise the price of rice from April to make it affordable to everybody in the country while declaring open the 2016 National wheat farmers field day in Alkamawa village in Bunkure Local Government of Kano state.

Ogbeh who said that the stability of price of rice would be very viable due to its demand and affordability to the people from April, reiterated that the boosting of wheat production and other cereals had become necessary to reduce over dependence on importation, adding that over 300, 000 hectares of land in wheat producing states would be dedicated to boost wheat production.

The Minister said that the government will continue to support farmers to encourage agricultural activity, enhance food security and employment generation in the country and reaffirmed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will diversify the economy with greater emphasis on agriculture. He urged Nigerians to embrace agriculture to enhance their welfare and enable them become self-reliant.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, in his remark, said the senate would make legislation to remove obstacles being faced by wheat farmers in the country, while the Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi promised that Kebbi would dedicate 70 per cent of the proposed 300, 000 for wheat production to boost its production.

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In the same vein, the chairman of the Kebbi state committee on the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) anchored borrowers programme on Wheat and Rice production in Kebbi state, Alhaji Garba Dandiga, has revealed in Birnin Kebbi recently that the first phase of the programme has attained 80 per cent success.

Dandiga who said that 10,000 wheat farmers participated in the programme, noted that a total of 81,000 hectares of farm land would be cultivated under the programme, adding that each farmer that belong to a group or a cooperative were supported with the sum of N210, 000 per hectare.

He further revealed that the wheat production programme encountered some shortage and that affected the quantity of production, stressing that the target was to provide 15,000 seedlings but only 10,000 was available. aspart of the seedlings that failed to germinate was discovered to be unfit for the soil texture of the state, stressing that the level of infiltration had been minimal.

Dandiga said the state government had commenced negotiation with the Lake Chad research institute for the provision of appropriate wheat seedlings as 70,000 farmers have been registered for the rice production programme that would commence soon, noting that the individual farmers needed to belong to a cooperative to benefit. He noted that prior to the introduction of the CBN anchored borrowers programme, 200,000 farmers had been registered by the state.

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