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June 2024

Rice, maize harvesting begins in four states, says FG

The harvesting and bagging of rice and maize by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority and its partners has commenced in Niger, Nasarawa, Benue, and Oyo states, the Federal Government has said.

It said the harvesting of these crops was being carried out on farm estates by NALDA and its partners across the country to boost the nation’s food security drive.

The agency, in a statement issued in Abuja, said it had achieved success in both farms built and run solely by NALDA and those operated in collaboration with private and public institutions across the six geopolitical zones.

“Harvesting, bagging, and storing of rice and maize are currently underway in Niger, Nasarawa, Benue, and Oyo states,” the Federal Government agency stated in its statement.

It added, “It is anticipated that these harvests will boost the nation’s grain supply (rice and maize), which will have a big effect on the value chains downstream that produce poultry feed, and other household goods.”

It stated that evidence from the states during the harvest activities at farm sites nationwide showed that NALDA harvests would help to reduce the gap in domestic production and supply of rice and maize.

It stated that in Bauchi State, maize harvest was ongoing at the farm estate located at Galambi, adding that though the overall land area was 500 hectares, 50 hectares were cultivated due to a 15-day rain delay and a late start to activities.

“The farm is equipped with four tractors, two maize threshers, planters, boom sprayers, maize harvesters, and a finished grain warehouse,” NALDA stated.

The agency’s Bauchi State Coordinator, Jalaludeen Mu’Azu, said the farm would boost significant production in the area because no farms in the state possessed such machinery.

He said the crop’s success had already attracted the interest of farmers in the surrounding farming communities.

According to him, the complete farm operation was mechanised, from harrowing to planting and to spraying fertiliser with a 400-litre capacity boom sprayer and machinery for weeding and harvesting.

He was quoted as saying, “We have just started our harvest and you know this is the first time we are farming here,”adding that over 150 metric tonnes of maize was expected from the farm.

The agency stated that in Benue State, harvesting and bagging were ongoing on the NALDA-cultivated 150-hectare rice farm in Gboko.

“With two combined harvesters, tractors, and other machines for bagging chores, the farm operations are totally automated,” it stated, adding that it expected to harvest large metric tonnes of paddy rice from the farm.

The Benue State Coordinator, NALDA, Asom William, said the farm recorded good success due to the deployment of farm equipment, as the stage was set for expansion in the coming cropping season, including diversification into dry season production.

On his part, the Head of the  Department of Engineering, NALDA, Owolabi Olusegun, said, “With this, you can see how much labour we have removed, how much drudgery has been eliminated, and how the entire process has been streamlined.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government says it is working towards reforming the Bank of Agriculture, National Agriculture Development Fund and Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation to deal with farmers’ access to credit, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, has said.

Kyari, who disclosed this on Tuesday, stated that in order to mitigate the problem of access to finance, the government was also subsidising farm inputs to farmers, while the process of reforming the three institutions was underway.

In a statement issued by his ministry in Abuja, the minister explained that farmers had been heavily impacted by floods in the past farming season.

“To mitigate their losses, they opted not to farm during this 2023 wet season which contributed to food inflation. This was compounded earlier in the year by the naira redesign policy which came into full force during the harvest season earlier this year,” the agric ministry stated in the statement.

It stated that market intelligence, according to the minister, indicated that farmers sold their produce at give-away prices.

This, it said, explained why the Federal Government opted to subsidise inputs for farmers in the 2023 dry season farming by taking advantage of an African Development Bank facility.

Kyari called for the local cultivation of wheat since there was in high demand for the commodity in the production of confectionery, adding that it would boost food security and improve the economic fortunes of farmers.

The minister said the Federal Government was providing free wheat seeds to farmers, while fertilisers were subsidised at 50 per cent to enable farmers to have access to commodities.

He stated that with the declaration of emergency on food security by President Bola Tinubu, the focus of the agric ministry was on how to increase yield using the available land for both dry and wet season farming.

He said the ministry was also deploying technology to harvest flood water for dry-season farming, but expressed concern over the lack of data on farmers and farms in Nigeria.

Kyari pointed out that such data would help in monitoring the activities of farmers, stressing that the ministry was working with state governments to provide the data to further help monitor the activities of farmers. QR Code

Published Date: November 29, 2023

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