The Federal Government has revealed that Nigeria’s deficit in rice production to meet local demand has closed further, dropping to 500,000 metric tonnes.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development made this known in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the Deputy Director, Information, Mrs Eno Olotu.
The ministry in the statement stated the country would soon close the gap and meet up with the required seven million metric tonnes to attain self-sufficiency in rice production for the country.
Olotu in the statement also disclosed that the ministry has received farm inputs from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support smallholder rice farmers in nine states of the federation.
The items received by the Ministry include 1,500 bags of certified rice seeds, 6,000 bags of NPK Fertilizer, 3,000 bags of urea fertilizer, 1, 500 litres of soul amender, 7,500 litres of herbicide and 6,000 litres of pesticide.
The nine beneficiary states are Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that Director of Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) of the ministry, Mrs Karima Babaginda, received the inputs on behalf of the government.
Babaginda, who explained that the development would help to boost rice production in the country, further extended the government’s appreciation to JICA.
On his part, chief representative of JICA in Nigeria, Nakagawa Takayuki, noted that the inputs were targeted at 1,500 small-scale rice farmers for the dry season rice farming.
“We also plan to provide the inputs to 1,000 small scale farmers in 10 states namely: Borno, Gombe, Kogi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Ogun, Taraba and Oyo for the wet season farming,” Takayuki said.
The Japanese rep, however, pledged the agency’s support for FMARD in the areas of extension service delivery to small-scale farmers.
He also assured of the agency cooperation in the area of capacity building and infrastructural development.