The Federal Government and nine states governments have agreed to jointly mobilise thousands of rice farmers to plant the crop on 230,000 hectares of farmland to produce 450,000 metric tons of paddy rice through irrigation in the forthcoming dry season to improve Nigeria's food sufficiency
According to a statement signed by the Director Information in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Salisu Nainna Danbatta, "the decision was reached at a special meeting on the implementation strategy for accelerated paddy rice production programme in the 2012 dry season between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and commissioners of agriculture from nine states of the federation in Sokoto over the weekend.
"The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bukar Tijani, who chaired the meeting, represented the Federal Government while commissioners of agriculture represented their respective states at the high-level meeting.
"The nine states represented at the meeting were Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Kebbi," the release read in part.
This is coming on the heels of the promise by the ministry to undertake post-flood food recouping irrigation farming to make up for the lost occasioned by the flood experienced recently in parts of the country.
The release also said that "President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has also directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide incentives to the rice farmers including improved rice seeds free of charge, and 50 per cent subsidy on the cost of two bags of fertilizers.
"Additional incentives available to the farmers include a guaranteed minimum price per metric ton of paddy rice, creating linkages between rice farmers and large-scale rice millers, and the provision of extension services in order to help them achieve maximum yield per hectare and earn good income from their efforts."