The Jigawa Government has clustered and empowered 26 youths to cultivate 13 hectares of land for rice production in Kirikasamma Local Government Area of the state.
Mr Muhammad Umar, the council’s Information Officer, made the disclosure in a statement made available to the newsmen in Dutse.
Umar said two youths were engaged to cultivate one hectare of rice field in Barmaguwa village, under FADAMA III programme.
He disclosed that boreholes had been drilled by the state government at the FADAMA sites to ensure availability of water for the rice cultivation.
The information officer added that seeds, fertiliser, water pumps and capital were also provided to the youths to have bountiful harvest.
He quoted Alhaji Usman Dan-Ali, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, who launched the exercise in Barmaguwa village, as re-affirming the state government’s commitment towards empowering youths in irrigation farming at the grassroots.
Dan-Ali said soft loans were provided for the youths, adding that they were expected to pay back after cultivation.
He also quoted the council’s Chairman, Alhaji Salisu Garba, as calling on the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity to enhance their living conditions.
The state government, under its Cluster Farming Scheme, was striving to empower youths to become self reliant through agricultural activities.
Government usually cleared and demarcated the sites for clustered youths to cultivate rice fields.
It also provides seeds, fertiliser, insecticides, tube wells/boreholes, water pumps and soft loan to the beneficiaries.
The programme was designed to empower and encourage youths to go into farming, become self-reliant and also make agriculture attractive and acceptable to youths.
It was also to encourage dry season rice production under the state’s government cluster/group farming initiative.
The beneficiaries usually pay back the soft loan after they might have cultivated and sold the rice.