No fewer than 150, 000 rice farmers would be registered in Niger state to cultivate 200, 000 hectares of land approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for 2021 planting season, the Niger state coordinator of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Usman Idris Makanta, has said.
Makanta spoke weekend in Minna when receiving two awards of Jagaban Mainoma and Haske Mainoma conferred on him by the Women Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria and Youth Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria.
He said: “Last dry season, we have been able to capture 42, 000 rice farmers to cultivate 77,000 hectares of land . This season, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved 200, 000 hectares of land for rice production and we are going to register about 150, 000 farmers to cultivate the land approved by CBN.”
He assured that more women and youth would be registered for rice farming this season, adding that the country can only defeat hunger and insecurity with more focus on agriculture, especially in rice production.
He said: “Agriculture can rescue the nation from economic downturn, insecurity and hunger. Rice farming is more than gold and that is the reason we are encouraging more women and youth to participate in it. The initiative has also helped in reducing unemployment of youth who now have brighter future.”
Presenting the award of Jagaban Mainoma to Alhaji Makanta, the Niger state chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women in Agriculture, Mrs. Helen Shaba, said over 5,000 women are engaged in rice farming in the state.
She added that women farmers have decided to honour Alhaji Makanta with the Jagaban Mainorma in recognition of his immense contributions to the development of agriculture in Niger state and the nation in general.
The Chairman of the Youth Farmers Association of Nigeria in Niger state, Kabiru Mohammed who presented the Haskell Norma award, commended the RIFAN coordinator for his encouragement to youth to take to farming, particularly rice production.