Ministry trains rice farmers on seed production to increase yield

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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) on Monday in Ibadan began the training of 15 rice farmers on seed production to increase rice yield in Nigeria.

The farmers were selected from the six states of the South-West geo-political zone of the country.

The two-day capacity training on community rice seed production and Inclusive Business Management was held at the FMAFS office.

Speaking during the programme, the FMAFS Coordinator in Oyo State, Dr Florence Kakulu, said the federal ministry would continue to support farmers in Nigeria to ensure food security.

“Agriculture is the bedrock of Nigeria’s economy after oil, and FMAFS is saddled with the responsibility of providing an enabling environment for farmers and other agricultural value chains.

“So, there is the need to train and retrain farmers, especially on seed production for Nigeria to be a food-secure nation.

“To have a viable seed in circulation, the team player in the seed sub-sector needs to be adequately trained because the entire value chain relies on them for their production and other value chain activities,” she said.

Also speaking, the FMAFS Rice Value Chain Desk Officer, Dr Abdulmalik Nura, said rice was an important crop in addressing food security challenges in Nigeria.

”It therefore requires more attention from all stakeholders,” Nura, who was represented by an official at the ministry, Mr Ayeleke Ayewale, said.

The Desk Officer pointed out that one of the challenges facing rice farmers in Nigeria was the unavailability of quality seed.

“Rice production in Nigeria requires improved quality seeds, so as to have increased yield and availability, and more quality rice seed was required for Nigeria to be self-sufficient in rice production.

“It is only the availability of good seed that can produce the required rice production needed in Nigeria,” he said.

Nura added that farmers must tap into the opportunity of rice seed production instead of focusing on planting only paddy rice.

He said the non-usage of certified seed by rice farmers was a great challenge and it has thereby reduced rice yield.

The Desk Officer said the training of rice farmers on rice seed production therefore became imperative to get quality seed and ensure competitiveness in rice production in Nigeria.

“It is for this reason that the ministry in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders developed the National Rice Development Strategy II (2020-2030) to achieve national self-sufficiency in rice production by 2030,” Nura said.

The participants in the programme were given rice kits, herbicides and other incentives.

NAN / Foluke Ibitomi

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