Rice farmers exploit ban on importation

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YOBE, OCTOBER 29, 2016 – Yobe Commissioner for Agriculture Mustapha Gajerima says that rice farmers in the state have scaled up their production following the ban on importation of rice.

Gajerima made the disclosure in Dayama village, Yobe on Saturday.

He said that farmers were exploiting the advantage of the ban to scale up production and develop local content.

According to him, the state has recorded increase in farming activities, especially rice, guinea corn, millet, sesame seeds and vegetables across the state.

“It is very encouraging to see such a great number of irrigation farmers springing up in the state planting vegetables, rice and wheat,” he said.

The commissioner said public officers, including commissioners, legislators, elites and civil servants were into irrigation farming thereby encouraging the subsistence farmers.

“I have personally cultivated 11 hectares of farm in Damaya with vegetables which also trains over 30 youths in irrigation farming.

Gajerima said the 765 km River Yobe provides great potential for irrigation farming on the vast arable land along the river basins.

He said the state government had earmarked 1,500 hectares of land for cultivation of rice, wheat and vegetables in Nguru, Jumbam and Giedam to enhance food security.

He said “over 4,000 youths will be engaged to cultivate rice, wheat and vegetables to complement rain-fed agriculture, and guaranty food security.”

Musa Katuzu, a rice farmer in Gashua, said the ban on rice importation had increased patronage of the local rice and improve production.

“All we need now are processing machines to process the local rice like what is obtained in the foreign product,” he said.

Aliyu Abubakar, a farmer in Nguru, said “Yobe has a large farming population and the natural potential to cultivate rice needs of Nigeria.

“Government should provide farmers with facilities and, l assure you that we will meet the food requirements of Nigeria and export others to earn revenue, ” Abubakar assured.

He appealed for dredging of river Yobe to improve the water flow for enhanced irrigation and fishing activities.

The farmers, however, urged the state government to provide storage facilities to preserve tomatoes, onions,mpepper and provide markets for the harvests to encourage farmers.

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