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COVID-19: Japan donates farm inputs to Nigeria smallholder rice farmers

 
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has received farm inputs from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support  SmallHolder Rice Farmers in 9 states of the Federation in its first phase support to Nigeria. This support according to JICA is in further collaboration with the Ministry to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic challenge.
Speaking while receiving the inputs on behalf of the Ministry, Director, Federal Department  of Agriculture(FDA), Mrs Karima Babaginda,  expressed appreciation to JICA for supporting rice farmers to scale up rice production in Nigeria, assuring that it will enhance a bumper harvest of the produce in this year’s farming season.
She said with the support of JICA and other donor agencies, Nigeria will not only be self sufficient in rice production but will soon be a major exporter, being the largest producer of rice in Africa currently.
Babaginda disclosed that Nigeria will soon meet the 7m Metric tons production capacity to attain its self sufficiency status, with just about 500,000 Metric tons to bridge the gap. She assures that the ministry will closely monitor the distribution and utilization of the inputs to the beneficiary farmers in the  nine pilot states. 
Chief Representative of JICA in Nigeria, Mr  Nakagawa Takayuki in his earlier remarks stated that the support by the Government of Japan, JICA  is to assist the Smallholder farmers increase their rice production and also improve its quality. 
He said, “to support the efforts made by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in  reducing the impact of COVID-19, on behalf of the Government of Japan, JICA is providing agricultural inputs to 1,500 small scale rice farmers in nine states, namely, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi States for the dry season rice farming”. 
According to him, “ we also plan to provide the inputs to 1,000 small scale farmers in 10 states, namely, Borno, Gombe, Kogi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Ogun, Taraba and Oyo States for the wet season farming”.
Takayuki pledged JICA’s support to sustain its collaborative efforts with the ministry in supporting extension service providers and small scale farmers through capacity and infrastructural development towards improving quality of agricultural products and increase productivity in Nigeria. 
He added that agriculture is one of the major employer of labour and source of wealth contribution to the Nigerian economy, adding that “committed efforts of relevant stakeholders are required to continue to promote and develop the sector”.
Items donated by JICA to the ministry included; 1,500 bags of Certified Rice Seeds, 6,000 bags of NPK Fertilizer, 3,000 bags of Urea Fertilizer, 1, 500 litres of Soul Amender, 7,500 litres of Herbicide and 6,000 litres of Pesticide.


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