Prof. Sani Miko, Country Director, Sasakawa Global 2000, has advised rice farmers in Cross River to ensure effective management of the milling machine installed in the area four years ago.
Miko gave the advice when he led a team of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) to Bansara Community, Ogoja Local Government Area of the State.
Sasakawa Global 2000, an NGO, is the country programme under the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA).
It is working in close collaboration with national agricultural extension services in Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda to support smallholder farmers along the agricultural value chain in terms of food security enhancement and livelihood improvement.
The Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE), integrated into SAA in January 2018, specialises in building the talents and skills of national extension staff in collaboration with agricultural departments of different universities in Africa.
The SG 2000 officials were in Cross River to interact with farmers who benefited from the intervention programmes of the organisation and to assess the implementation of the new farming technologies introduced to them.
“At the moment, we have only two rice milling and two cassava milling machines in the state.
“So, there’s a need to brace up and face the challenges squarely,’’ he said.
Miko expressed concern over the farmers’ failure to ensure effective management of the plant and called on their leaders to take necessary steps to address the problems.
“Sasakawa Global 2000 was established to assist African farmers to improve their socio-economic status and enhance their agricultural production.
“This is Nigerian money if you cannot use the machine, we will remove it and take it to where it can be used,’’ the director said.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the cooperative group, Mr Eworo Gregory said lack of market for the processed rice had negatively affected the operation of the plant.
“It is only during festive periods we normally get buyers and the machine has been giving us problems,’’ Gregory said.
According to him, the group has always engaged mechanic from Ebonyi for the regular maintenance of the machine.
However, the woman leader of the group, Mrs Theresa Amofo, sought the Sasakawa Global 2000 for members in the area of capacity building to improve their skills in maintaining the machine.
“Because of the quality of the mill we have, our processed rice can compete with the one being produced in Ebonyi,’’ Amofo said.