Jigawa spends N5b on rice and wheat

By Ene Okanihe

Five billion Naira has been spent on rice and wheat value chain in the past two years of the current administration in Jigawa state.

Governor Mr. Muhammed Abubakar stated this in an interview with a team of Agriculture Journalist in Dutse, the Jigawa state capital.

Governor Abubakar says the state gives loan to farmers using ‘Cluster approach,’ giving support to women in Agriculture and empowering the youth with agro processing and agro mechanical farm implement.

He said they were recovering some of the loans given out to farmers and also reinvesting the loan back into Agriculture.

Mechanised farm implements
The Governor stated that the state has been able to reduce the cost of harvesting rice and wheat by acquiring motorised harvesters and threshers for the youths.

“Initially they use sickle to harvest but now we bought motorised harvesters and distributed to them as empowerment tools so they act as service providers to the farmers…Using the manual sickle you pay more but with motorised harvesters, it’s cheaper. We have also brought in threshers, before now the youth beat to thresh rice or wheat. Initially if farmers had to pay 10,000 Naira to thresh one hectare, now they will probably pay about 5-6 thousand Naira because it more mechanised and faster,” Governor Abubakar explained.

Youth as pest control agents
The youths have been trained in pest control and they can provide pest control services to farmers.

“We train youth in pest control and we have their phone numbers…they are also trained on crop protection so that when there is insect or when a farmer has any form of problem, he or she will notify them to spray the farms or provide any technical information they have as a form of first aid before the extension workers will come in,” Governor Abubakar stated.

Mobile mechanics
The youths have been trained in so many things including how to repair harvesters, tractor, threshers and were given motor bikes, welding machines and tools.

Nigerian government and Jigawa collaborations
Governor Abubakar said the Nigerian Government has provided infrastructure for a 35 kilometre (6,000) irrigation rice farm in Jigawa.

The Nigerian government built the project and water channels from the Hadejia River Basin to the 6,000 hectare rice farms while the Jigawa state government provided farm inputs and feeder roads for farmers to transport their produce to the market.

The state government also made available water pumps for other irrigation farmers that are not close to the water channels built by the Nigerian government.

“What drives my agriculture plan for Jigawa State is the need to attain self sufficiency in food production and to be able to feed other African countries and compete favourably in the international Market in rice production,’’ Governor Abubakar added.

Mercy Chukwudiebere