Home BUSINESS AGRICULTURE International Agric Agency Rises To Address Low Food Production In Nigeria

International Agric Agency Rises To Address Low Food Production In Nigeria

The International Fund for Agricultural Development Programme (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has taken up the challenge of addressing what it called “low food production” in Nigeria.

“Our problem in this country is low productivity, farmers’ yields are low.

“Science has proven that one of the ways to make sure that farmers increase their yields and make more money is to improve the quality of their seeds.”

The National Programme Coordinator (NPC),  IFAD-VCDP, Dr. Balance Garba,  who spoke today,  October 30 at the closing of the one-month training for 120 youths on the production of quality rice seeds, held in Baddegi, Bida Local Government Area of Niger state, said that the essence of the training is to equip the young trainees, who will become entrepreneurs, on how to produce quality rice seeds to increase production.

Represented by the Agriculture Production Advisor, VCDP National Office, Abuja, Dr. Chika Unamm,  Garba said that training of the youths, who would become producers of certified seeds, would go a long way to improve rice yields across the country.

“Farmers’ yields have been very low and we have discovered that it is because of wrong practices which farmers engage in, especially while procuring seeds.

“This is why the VCDP thought it necessary to train youths who will be producers of certified seeds within their communities so that  farmers can have access to quality seeds to increase their harvest.”

He  said that farmers could have up to six metric tonnes of rice per hectare if they would  plant the right seeds.

Dr.  Garba said that the trainees were drawn from the nine VCDP participating states of Anambra, Benue, Niger, Ogun, Ebonyi, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and Kogi.

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He said that the participants would be supported with start-up packs of seeds, fertilisers and other inputs which would help them with their first production, after which they would be expected to run the business as an enterprise.

Earlier, Dr. Matthew Ahmed, the state Programme Coordinator, called for training of more youths in rice seed production to create job opportunities as a strategy to tackle insecurity.

Ahmed urged the youths  to liaise with the National Agricultural Seeds Council to produce quality seeds for farmers.

“With good quality seeds, farmers can harvest nine to 12 metric tonnes of rice per hectare of land.

“The target of the project is to ensure that farmers harvest up to 12 metric tonnes of rice per hectare of land.”

Dr. Shaibu Abraham, rice breeder/seed expert with the Africa Rice Centre and a consultant with the VCDP, said that the participants were trained on rice seed production technology as regards quality seeds, nursery, land preparation, good agricultural practices and water and fertiliser management.

Mr Roland Ohazuruike, a trainee from Anambra State, said that the training was impactful.

Ohazuruike, who thanked IFAD-VCDP for the training, gave the assurance that it would be well utilised.

The VCDP is a collaborative intervention of the Federal Government, IFAD and the nine participating states. It focuses on the value chains for cassava and rice. Source: NAN.

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