The International Fund for Agricultural Development Programme (IFAD) has expressed optimism that the nation would not import rice in 2018 as the nation is gradually moving toward self sufficiency in rice production.
The IFAD Country Programme Officer in Nigeria, Dr. Odoemena Ben said that with the attention been paid by governments at all levels and international agencies on rice production, the sector has received a boost.
Ben who stated this during the 5th IFAD Supervision Mission to Niger state said, “Nigeria is heading for self sufficiency of rice before the end of 2017. I am very sure that if the path of what we are doing continues, we will be self sufficient in rice production. By next year, Nigeria will be able to export rice .”
He said that with the investment made in rice this year, the farmers across the country can produce more than three million metric tonnes of rice which would be more than enough until the next rice planting season.
The state IFAD Project Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed Mathew said that over N83 million has been expended for infrastructures for Rural Farmers in Niger state to provide them with basic amenities and alleviate their sufferings.
He said that the infrastructures were provided under the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) under the programme adding that the projects will help in increasing the productivity of the farmers in the state.
He said that Solar Powered boreholes was set up for N9.5 million, rehabilitation and construction of warehouses gulped N23 million while others cost N33 million..
Ahmed further said that IFAD has helped the farmers in increasing their income while he stressed on the need for the state government to pay up its counterpart fund to enable them give the farmers more infrastructures.