By Sylvester Thompson
Abuja, Aug.13, 2019) Some Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents say locally produced rice are more nutritious and healthier than the imported one.
The residents agreed that if locally produced rice was properly rebranded, there would be no need for the importation of foreign and stale rice into the country.
They spoke in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency , on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Anthony Agbonlahor, a Constitutional lawyer and a foodstuff merchant described locally produced rice as a healthy staple food, which was becoming popular among Nigerians due to many benefits.
“Nigeria rice has a particular allure, delicacy and fragrance that makes people want to savour it with ease and apart from its nutritional benefits but it has to be rebranded for safety.
“Many Nigerians now appreciate locally produced items including our food crops which tend to compete with foreign produce and our local rice is healthy.
“Sincerely, people love rice that will not jeopardise their health condition and Nigerians don’t like wasting time picking debris.
‘`The ease of convenience is the watch word and I implore the private sector to ensure ease of cooking by eliminating the debris from our locally produced rice.
“In fact, if this is done, this rice which our children so much love can never be compared to imported and adulterated rice,’’ Agbonlahor said.
An Agriculturist and Nutritionist, Ms Vera Godwin said she preferred locally produced rice because “it is brought straight from the farm”.
According to her, no chemical or preservatives are added.
Godwin advised Nigerians to consume locally produced rice due to the health benefits.
“Though imported rice is easier to cook but we have to consider the health benefits.
“Foreign rice might be easier to cook but you still need to add ingredients for it to come out well, but our local rice doesn’t need ingredients.
“I usually eat our locally produced rice and due to its rich content, I can stay untill evening without feeling hungry,’’ she said.
The agriculturist urged the government to promote the culture of zero importation of farm produce into the country and rebrand local rice to appeal to the consumers’ taste.
Mr Peter Chinedu, Information Technology Expert and Agriculturist appealed to Nigerian local rice producers, government and stakeholders to rebrand the staple food and assist farmers to produce more to feed the population.
“Our rice is healthy but its common knowledge that oftentimes it’s difficult to pick out the stones.
“Rice producers can get it refined by eliminating those stones and this can be done by giving machinery and equipment to producers to meet international standard.
“With this done, importation of the commodity should be restricted.
“In fact, government should rather increase the price of foreign rice and reduce the cost of our locally produced rice for more appeal,’’ Chinedu said.
Edited by Grace Yussuf
BSADP promotes grapevines cultivation in Bauchi state
The Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), said on Sunday that it had perfected plans to promote the cultivation of Grapevines as part of efforts at encouraging production of cash crops in the state.
The Director of Agriculture and Technical Services of the programme, Mr Luka Daniel, said this in Bauchi in an interview with Nigeria News Agency .
Daniel said that the effort would encourage farmers to engage in the venture to meet local demand and also conserve huge foreign exchange being spent on the importation of the commodity.
Daniel dispelled the belief by most Nigerians that grapevines could not be grown in the country.
“Any person who says that grapevines cannot be grown in the country may be ignorant and does not know about grapevine production.
“We have assisted many people who are interested in the cultivation of the crop, both within and outside the state.
“In the horticultural section of the Programme, we have various species of the seedlings;the fact of the matter is that grapevines are presently being produced in Nigeria.
“We started it in the BASDP in 2012 and had trained students, farmers, extension officers and people who are interested in the production of assorted tree crops and those who need to have seedlings.
“We currently have nurseries in Bauchi, Azare, Dutsin Kura, Toro and other locations, and had assisted individuals in setting up farms,” Daniel explained.
Edited by Saidu Adamu
FG determined to boost tomato production – NIHORT
The Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, says that the Federal Government has a robust plan to boost local production of tomato and create employment opportunities in the country.
Olaniyan said this at a workshop on tomato and ginger production, and value addition on Saturday in Kano.
The executive director, who said that tomato production in Nigeria was below demand, added that the production figure for fresh tomato was about 1.8 million tonnes while the annual demand was 2.3 million tonnes.
According to him, the Federal Government’s tomato policy is to significantly reduce post–harvest losses of tomato fruits, boost production and attract investments into the entire value chain.
He said that the workshop had become imperative as a means of creating more awareness on the importance of the commodities in achieving food security, sustainable livelihood and economic empowerment.
“The training will cover important aspects of the commodities’ value chains such as nursery practices, production practices, value addition, economics of production, marketing and record keeping.
“The training will also cover tomato value addition and processing in order to reduce seasonal glut and inconsistent year round supply,” he explained.
Olaniyan further said that processing of tomato would reduce the quantity of tomato being imported into the country, especially during the lean season of supply.
“It is evident that improved production techniques and value addition must be taken seriously to attract sustainable levels of investment and stakeholders’ interest in ginger,” he said.
The executive director said that Nigeria was the third largest exporter of ginger in the world after China and India.
According to him, Nigerian ginger verities are acclaimed to be of superior quality and outstanding flavour, adding that they were preferred products in the international market.
He said that NIHORT had the mandate to conduct research into genetic improvement, production, processing, utilisation and marketing of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and spices.
Olaniyan then urged the participants to pay critical attention to all sessions in order to make the best use of the golden opportunity.
Some of the participants, who spoke with , commended NIHORT for the training and promised to extend the knowledge acquired to other farmers.
Edited by Franca Ofili and ‘Wale Sadeeq
River basin to create farm settlement in Auchi for food sufficiency
“Songhai farming is the best model of farming and I urge many Nigerians to embrace the model of agriculture from Auchi experience,” he said.
YIIFSWA, IITA sensitise 50 Edo yam farmers on new technology
The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA ll) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday held a sensitisation forum on Aerophonics system of seed yam production for 50 yam farmers in Edo.
Mrs Perpetual Isiahon, Head of YIIFSWA, said that the programme was initiated to set a new tone for yam value chain in the state.
“Our task at this forum is to access the economic benefits of yam value chain, while using it as an initiative for the attainment of food security in Edo.
“The purpose of this forum is to sensitise participants on new technologies in producing seed yam and developing a better understanding of existing methods.
“It is also to expose participants to different products they can get from yam for income generation through its value chain,” she said.
Isiahon urged yam farmers in the state to key into the project and invest more on yam value chain for wealth creation.
She also called on the state government to assist in establishing new seed yam production companies in the state.
She said that a budget for yam in Edo would also encourage the production of yam.
In a speech, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Mr Felix Akhabue, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Joe Edionwe, said that Nigeria had a high demand for yam as a staple food.
Edionwe regretted that yam production in Nigeria was not enough to meet the growing local and export demands, hence the need for new technologies in seed yam multiplication and production.
He said that the realisation of the goal would, no doubt, facilitate wealth creation and empowerment in the yam value chain.
Akhabue pledged government’s support to collaborate with critical stakeholders to ensure that yam farmers and Edo people benefited immensely from the project.
Mr Wellington Omoragbon, state Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), commended the initiative and urged the farmers to take the message to their communities.
Omoragbon said the one-day advocacy and sensitisation forum, tagged “Sustainable production of high quality seed yam for wealth creation and empowerment”, was organised by IITA, in collaboration with Root and Tuber Division of FMARD.
1,300 rice farmers receive input for dry season farming in Delta–RIFAN
Mr Anthony Umunna, Delta Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) said that no fewer than 1,300 registered members of the association in the state have received inputs for dry season farming.
Umunna said though members received the inputs; paddy rice, herbicides, water pumps among others for the year’s dry season farming, they might not be able to plant until about September ending when the rains would have subsided.
He said that there was need for a review of the farming calendar between the northern and southern parts of Nigeria to enable timely release of inputs to farmers because of the difference in weather conditions.
According to Umunna, the quest for the release of the inputs have been on since to enable farmers in the south engage in this year’s dry season farming.
“As at today, 1,300 registered rice farmers in Delta have received paddy rice, herbicides, and water pumping machines among other inputs for 2019 dry season farming.
“In spite of our efforts, the inputs came late and as our farmers will have to wait till the end of September for the rains to subside before planting.
“This is why we are appealing to government for timely release of the inputs to enable our farmers work with the seasonal timetable and key into the dry season farming and that of the wet seasons farming appropriately,’’ he said.
He appealed to the farmers not to lose their patience as everything possible was being done by the association to ensure that all registered rice farmers benefited from the CBN-RIFAN Anchor Borrowers Scheme aimed at boosting rice production in Nigeria.
He also called on all the South-South governors to support the programme and ensure that farmers in the area got full benefits, adding that the programme would not only create jobs but also boost the economy and create wealth.
NAN reports that the programme is part of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme in Partnership with RIFAN to boost rice production in the country.