The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said that its intervention in the agricultural sector would boost rice production in Nigeria.
Mrs. Rhoda Dia, the Project Manager for UNDP-Global Environment Facility Integrated Approach Programme (UNDP-GEF-IAP) on Food Security, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Gombe.
Dia said that the UNDP’s intervention in the area of good agricultural practices and training for key stakeholders in the agricultural value chain would enhance the knowledge of farmers in rural areas to boost rice production.
According to her, Nigeria’s good potential in rice production, if properly harnessed, will impact greatly on the economy and enrich more farmers, especially those who have embraced the use of improved seedlings.
She said that if the series of intervention programmes from UNDP and the Federal Government were to be properly harnessed by farmers, food security would be guaranteed.
“As you might be aware, the issues of having effective agribusiness platforms in the development of agriculture and food security with a view to enhancing sustainable development have become regional and national concerns.
“The UNDP is doing a lot in the area of boosting rice production. Recently, we brought in major stakeholders involved in the rice value chains to a food summit in Gombe, on how to boost productivity.
“ During the summit, Agricultural Development Programme (ADPs) of Adamawa, Benue, Nasarawa, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Gombe signed a Memorandum of Understanding with major rice mills to facilitate the growth of the produce and groundnuts by farmers.
“ The rice mill companies will provide inputs, training, and general support, off-take and process the farm produce, while the National Agricultural Seed Council certifies through registered dealers.
“We established linkages through the creation of an innovation platform, which provides the sustainable structures for the advancement of what the project refers to as a win-win inter-state food commodity value chain,’’ she said.
The project manager canvassed the need to review the immediate business environment across the rice value chains to obtain information from millers and off-takers about the required quality and specifications of rice to be produced by the farmers.
Dia said that the UNDP had been empowering women and communities with treadle pumps to make farming easier while curbing environmental degradation arising from poor agricultural practices.
She lauded the government’s efforts at boosting food security in the country, urging rice farmers to embrace bio-friendly agricultural practices, to protect the environment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Sept. 26, a Food Summit was held in Gombe under the UNDP-GEF-IAP project being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
The objectives of the summit are to kick-start the process of establishing cooperation along rice and groundnut value chains and work with various stakeholders to coordinate their activities for better efficiency.