Lokoja - The Kogi Government on Sunday disbursed N10 million to 300
individuals and farmers' cooperative groups under its accelerated rice
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the
beneficiaries were among the first batch of 1,500 farmers engaged by the
government during the take off of the project on 15 December 2012.
The farmers participated in the cultivation of 3,000 hectares of rice
farms in Galile, Sarki Noma and Okumi in the Lokoja Local Government
Area and Koton-Karfe area of the state.
So far, more than 2 000 metric tones of paddy rice had been harvested.
Speaking on the occasion, Gov. Idris Wada, expressed delight that the
accelerated rice production scheme had been a success, adding that the
money disbursed to farmers was their own share from the sales.
He said that the payment of the money to the farmers was in
fulfilment of the promise earlier made by the government that the
proceeds would be shared at 60-40 per cent ration between the government
and the farmers.
Wada, however, said that government had decided to buy back the
harvested rice at the current market price from the farmers to ensure
food security, saying that money realised from the sale would be
re-invested in the project.
The governor thanked the Federal Government for providing N100
million, 60 water pumps, 350 bags of rice seeds and 750 bags of
fertilisers at subsidised rates to support the project.
Wada appealed to the Federal Government to maintain the ban on rice
importation in order to protect local rice, saying that the country had
no reason to spend as much as one billion naira daily on rice
The Project Consultant, Anselem Mohammed, said that those
issued cheques had completed harvesting, promising that others
would receive their money after harvest.
He identified the invasion of quela birds as a major problem
confronting the project, saying that as much as 20 per cent of the total
yield might be lost to the birds' invasion.
According to Mohammed, problems of theft of farm equipment and a lack
of irrigation facilities have been brought to the notice of the
The Managing Director of the Kogi State Agricultural Development
Programme (ADP), Dr Ameh Onoja, said that the success had encouraged the
ADP to extend the project to Ajaokuta, Omala, Idah, Bassa and Ibaji
Local Government Areas, where hectares of land
had been cleared and planted.
Onoja, however, identified lack of irrigation, attack by quela birds
and inadequate capacity of farmers as major challenges confronting the
He suggested the training of farmers on dry season farming, design
and construction of canals and channels, establishment of a farm
management system and training of farmer on rice farming to overcome the
challenges and make the project sustainable.
The Chairman of the Rice Harvesting Committee, Hajiya Bilikisu
Onusagba, said that more than 1 300 bags of rice had so far been
harvested from the rice farms, commending the government for being
transparent and sincere in dealings with farmers.
She appealed to the government to sustain the sharing ration of 60-40 per cent to further encourage the farmers.
Onusagba urged the government to address insecurity on the farms and inadequate farming implements.