By Fatima Muraina
Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Ondo state chapter, has called for more assistance for farmers to boost rice production.
The state Chairman of the association, Pastor Emmanuel Ibukun made the appeal in a chat with The Hope yesterday in Akure.
Pastor Ibukum appreciated the federal government for counting the state worthy to have been selected among the few that benefitted from its gesture which he observed was inadequate compared to the population of the farmers.
According to him, the state representative was presented a litre of weeding chemical, a litre of Gryphocide, 24 kilogramnes of rice seed and a nose mask.
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 in Ibadan, 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.
“According to him, 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.
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.
“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.
The National Vice-President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Mr. Victor Korede, and South-West, Ms. Olayinka Ogunlaja who were in attendance at the event appreciated the federal government for intensifying efforts to ensure that agricultural inputs and knowledge on best practices were provided to farmers.