Federal Ministry of Agricutlture and Rural Development (FMARD), Thursday, distributed starter packs worth N1.5million to 30 farmers in South East to increase Rice Production in the country.
The items given to the beneficiaries were 25kg of certified rice seeds of FARO 44 variety, three litres of 2,4- post emergence herbicide and two litres of liquid fertilizer.
The event which took place at FMARD Office at Independence Layout, Enugu, had farmers from Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia and the host state, Enugu, in attendance.
In his opening address, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar said the ministry was working towards making the nation self-sufficient in rice production and for export.
The state director FMARD, Anambra ,Arthur Mbuba, who represented the minister said the purpose of the intervention is to bolster rice production in all parts of the country.
“We are also producing and distributing flood certified seeds of FARO 66 and 67 to farmers along the riverine areas to mitigate the effect of flood as witnessed recently.
“The ministry provides farm equipment in form of tillers, transplanters, rice reapers, thrashers and other simple farm tools to smallholder farmers in different locations at subsidise rate.
“In continuation, government decided to identify genuine rice farmers, smallholder farmers in conjunction with state agricultural development project (ADPs).
“Also, state Ministries of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Rice Farmers’ Associations and other relevant stakeholders in the value chain for continued support to farmers in line with our mandate,” Abubakar said.
State coordinator from Enugu State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Peter Nwaogor, said FMARD was seriously working towards food security in the country.
Represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mathew Idu, Nwaogor said, FMARD was using various activities, programmes, and technologies to improve farming in the country.
“Government policy on rice production has been to generate massive employment, eliminate hunger and poverty in the communities,”he said.
Staff of the Federal Department of Agriculture ,AyelekeDauda, told farmers to utilise the opportunity to their own interest.
Speaking on the good agricutltural practice and effective use of agro-chemical in rice production, Dauda said that rice do well in dry season than raining season.
“Rice farming in dry season is free from pastes attack and devoid of the diseases that goes with stagnant water and he urged the farmers to use soil that retains water.
“In rice farming, nursery remains the best and transplanting should start from the 14th day to 21 days and ensure that you apply other things at the right time,” he said.
Dr. Benjamin Puja from FMARD, South East Regional Office said the program was a wonderful one and believed that new Nigeria flowing with milk and honey is possible.
Puja, who represented the Regional Director,Kehis Felix, advised farmers to be committed as there are more benefit to farming.
Chairman of Abakaliki Rice Mill, EbonyiState, LinusNkwuda, said he feels happy being part of the project and used the opportunity to appreciate the federal government.
“Federal government has done great in terms of, empowering the youths, farmers, and I will say this is one among many that has been coming farmers way.
“This intervention will go along way in re-positioning the farmers and the new variety will improve production, good yield, capacity and food supply in the country,”Nkwuda said.