The Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar says the State has moved its yield of rice production from 2.5-5 tons per hectare.
He disclosed this at the validation workshop on capacity gaps for implementing Holistic Empowerment for Livelihood Program, HELP, which held in Kaduna.
The Governor said farmers are being clustered to produce rice by providing them with agronomic practices, seeds, insecticides and fertilizer in order to increase competitiveness.
“This has also provided jobs to over 145 youths across the value chain. They have been trained on manual planters, per boiling and also act as service providers to plant and transplant rice for farmers. They are also connected with rice dealers and millers who sale to them at factory price.
“I, therefore, believe this workshop is meant for us because we are in dare need of help, advice and guidance to record more successes in Agricultural development hence the need for me to come along with all stakeholders in the sector,” he said.
Badaru stated that, his counterparts in the Northwest region have met and agreed that, the region’s future lies on agriculture development.
The Governor hinted that Jigawa State has effective five rice mills and that Dangote is presently building 36 tons per hour rice meal.
The Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, FARA, Yemi Akinbamijo said it is as a result of the commitment demonstrated by Jigawa and Oyo State governments, FARA developed a capacity development initiative tagged, ‘Holistic Empowerment for Livelihood Program’ HELP.
According to him, “the philosophy behind HELP is the promotion of triangular collaboration involving the private sector, Universities and research centres and policy makers among African Countries and their counterparts in South-South region based on solidarity that breaks the traditional donor recipient relationship, leading to empowerment of youth and women for improved livelihood under a win-win situation”.
He further stated that, HELP also offers the opportunity to exchange information on relevant agricultural technologies and innovations.
“Already, FARA-Jigawa joint engagement with the Cuban government has yielded some positive results leading to the development of Afro Cuba partnership for Agricultural Research and Development, AcuPAD,” he disclosed.
Akinbamijo noted that, the workshop represents the first major steps in the implementation of HELP during which capacity gaps earlier identified by the Arewa Research and Development Project will be validated, new gaps identified and partnership for realising the vision of HELP mapped.
He stressed that the gathering is expected to come up with a draft that will eventually become country specific work program aimed at guiding activities of all stakeholders for implementation.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture, Daniel Manzo said even though a lot needs to be done in the sector, the present government at all levels have initiated innovations to boost value chains in tomatoes and maize particularly in Kaduna and Kano States.
“The gap in agricultural capacity has kept us in a circle of crippling poverty, if only our small farmers had capacity and are able to cluster themselves together, they can move the World. Even as scattered and sporadic their efforts are, they still contribute to the nation’s economy,” Manzo said.
The workshop had in attendance major stakeholders in the agriculture sector drawn from North-western Nigeria, International partners and top government officials.