In a bid to ensure food security in Nigeria, the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), has distributed rice production inputs to farmers in the South-West zone of the country.
The exercise, which was held on Monday at Moor Plantation, Ibadan, had farmers’ representatives from Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, and Lagos states.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, who was represented by Alhaji Bashir Usman, Deputy Director and National Coordinator for Rice Value Chain, while presenting the items to the farmers, said the Federal Government, through the ministry, has introduced an array of agricultural programmes and projects to ensure food security and long-term economic growth of the nation.
“The Nigerian agricultural sector has been focusing on the conventional paradigm of harnessing resources over the years to sustain food security. Presently, the Federal Ministry of agriculture and rural development is committed to making the sector a pivot for economic stabilization by diversifying, generating employment, and creating wealth in the country. One of the ways in which the ministry is working to achieve its objectives is through the promotion of various value chains,’’ he said.
Speaking further, Usman disclosed that the ministry has also organized a two-day training for rice farmers across South-West states on “Good Agricultural Practices and Safe/Effective Use of Agrochemicals to increase Rice Production.”
According to him, the best agricultural practices were voluntary guidelines for farmers to reduce the risk of microbial contamination related to food-borne illness on their farms, adding that the voluntary guidelines are expected to be observed at each stage of agriculture, such as in soil preparation, sowing and manure application, harvesting and processing.
Usman noted that plants could only yield well and resist pests and disease if they were grown under the most suitable conditions, therefore, it is necessary to sensitize farmers and other stakeholders along the rice value chain through this workshop to spread the basic concept of agricultural best practices in rice production.
On her part, the Oyo State Coordinator, FMARD, Dr Kakulu Omonele, urged participants to make the most of the training and step it down to others in their various associations.
Also in attendance were Mr. Victor Korede, National Vice-President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), South-West, Ms. Olayinka Ogunlaja.
They appreciated the Federal Government for intensifying efforts to ensure that agricultural inputs and knowledge on best practices were provided to farmers.