Birnin-Kebbi — Following the re-election of the Kebbi State governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu Abubakar in the last gubernatorial election, the people of the Kebbi State have attributed the success of the election to his achievements in the agricultural sector.
Speaking to newsmen, Alhaji Dantain Kanya, who is a major stakeholder in the Kebbi State politics, described Bagudu and President Muhammadu Buhari as silent achievers, especially in agricultural investments, adding that their re-election by the people of the state were based on the achievements.
He added that being a state blessed with many agricultural and agro-allied potentialities, Senator Bagudu saw an opening to positively impact on the sector, thus putting smiles on the faces of both large and small-scale farmers.
Bagudu provides inputs and expertise, as well as invites agencies and companies to partner for the overall development of the sector.
For turning Kebbi into the largest rice-producing state in Nigeria, the governor was appointed the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force Committee on Rice and Wheat Production.
Considering the socio-economic importance of agriculture to food production and income generation for the people of the state, the governor initiated an agricultural revitalisation, transformation and diversification drive through partnership with the Bank of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
President Buhari personally launched the Anchor Borrowers' Programme aimed at production of food, job creation, income generation and self-sufficiency, and more millionaires are said to have been made of the rice farmers whose productivity per hectare of land has increased to an average of six metric tonnes of rice paddies.
Before the scheme, an average of two to three tonnes per hectare were recorded in rice cultivation, but production has double with productivity, enhanced by improved varieties, fertilizer application and good agronomical practices facilitated by the Bagudu-led administration.
Partnership with the Lagos State government in the production of Lagos-Kebbi Rice (LAKE Rice) has created a sustainable, reliable and profitable ready market for the paddies produced by farmers in Kebbi, transforming their fortunes and boosting their socio-economic standards of living.
Speaking on achievements in agricultural sector, Hajiya Ubahida said that "A landmark is the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi states on rice value chain and other commodity that produced the LAKE Rice. This positive result did not go unnoticed by some leading newspapers, closely monitoring the human capital investment and interventions."
Kanya added that the mobilisation of over 70,000 farmers, the production of over three million tonnes of rice and other successes recorded in the state had earned governor the chairmanship of the Presidential Task Force Committee on Rice and Wheat Production in Nigeria, the post which comes with additional responsibilities beyond of Kebbi, reaching out to other state governors, legislators, farmer associations, millers and other stakeholders towards reviving agriculture and making Nigeria a leading rice producer in Africa.
The government's sustained efforts in agricultural revitalisation and development have attracted investors from far and near. Kebbi has become a model and a hub in in rice and wheat production.
The commissioning of WACOT mill recently held in the state was an attestation of the administration's investment drive. The investment efforts have placed Kebbi second only to Kano in rice milling in the whole of the northwest zone.
To consolidate on the gains recorded in the dry season rice farming and improve output in wet the season, Kebbi has also entered into partnership with Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, and Zamfara states as well as the Moroccan Government to receive the supply of over 300,000 tonnes of fertiliser.
The administration has also procured for distribution to famers 100 tractors, 1000 ox-drawn ploughs, 100 rice threshers and 100 motorcycles for trained agricultural extension workers.
In an effort to diversity, develop and harness the non-oil sectors of the economy, the administration is encouraging livestock production. From prevention and control of diseases in poultry and fisheries, the state ministry of agriculture's mandate is gradually coming to fruition with increased beef production and partnerships.