In an attempt to maintain its position as the nation’s leading producer of rice, Niger State Governor, Alhaji. Abubakar Sani Bello, has disclosed plans to increase the state production of the staple food by 30 percent this farming season.
He unveiled this on Monday when he received members of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, (RIFAN) Niger State Chapter, at the Government House in Minna, the state capital.
The governor who was impressed by the commitment of the farmers in drastically reducing the country’s dependency on imported rice said that his administration targets an increase in rice production in the 2019 farming season by at least 30 percent.
“I am happy with our rice farmers and millers. Your activities have saved the country millions of dollars and you have shown that we can feed ourselves. For us in Niger State, we are committed to increasing rice production by at least 30 percent in 2019 farming season,” the governor stated.
Announcing incentive packages for the rice farmers, the governor directed that only locally made rice should be patronized by the state during festive periods by various government agencies.
The Governor who noted that states across the country would in no distant future have to become independent of themselves in terms of economic survial called farmers in the state to put in more effort in order to improve productivity and transform the state into a commerciallly viable state .
” From what I can see, very soon every state in Nigeria will have to fend for itself and in the very long future. With the architecture and dynamics of time and resources in the country, we have to engage in alternative sources of revenue and income and believe me, the way forward is agriculture.
“Our ever increasing population which is alarming is faced with a state of limited resources that can not go round so we need to find other ways to improve on not just rice farming but agriculture as a whole. This is why we need to come together and develop a robust plan so as to improve on production and also, the quality of goods we will produce,” the governor stated.
Governor Sani Bello noted that RIFAN is a major stakeholder and partner to government’s quest for economic revival maintained that rice farming has increased a lot of job opportunities especially to youths in the state and advised the association should collaborate with the government in order to improve on dry-season farming.
“We must look into dry season farming in the coming season as it has a lot of yield since we are able to control the flow of water. I hereby pledge my support towards the Rice Farmers Association. “
Earlier, the state chairman, Rice Farmers Association, Alhaji Idris Abini disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as that of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, have recorded tremendous progress in the rice farming sector.
He stated that the support by the All Progressives Congress, APC, has enabled rice farmer to increase the production of locally produced rice across the state.
The chairman then commended Governor Sani Bello for reactivating irrigation sites across the state, expanding rural roads for the transportation of agricultural produce and his timely intervention for flood victims who’s farmlands were affected.
Idris then assured Governor Sani Bello of increased rice production and their support in the forthcoming general elections .