FG procures 500 rice harvesters, threshers to boost production
The Federal Government has procured no fewer than 500 rice harvesters and threshers to reduce post harvest losses and achieve self sufficiency in rice production by 2018.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made this known while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
Ogbeh said that the government had only taken delivery of 80 of the harvesters, adding that the remaining 420 would be delivered before April.
He said the harvesters that would cost about N1.7 million each, would be manned by trained personnel in states.
Ogbeh also noted that the rice threshers which were produced locally would cost between N800, 000 and N900, 000 each.
The minister, who said that Kebbi have procured some of the machines, noted that Ebonyi and Jigawa States have also indicated interest to acquire the machines.
According to him, if we have these machines in rice and wheat farms, the cost and stress of rice farming will reduce by 80 per cent.
“One of the worries of rice farmers is the labour in the harvest and that is why we are bringing these machines.
“They will be managed by a team of young boys and girls. They will be backed with a lot of spare parts.
“Boys and girls will move round harvesting rice for farmers and they will get paid for the labour because manual rice harvesting is a very tedious process.
“States like Ebonyi, Kebbi and Jigawa are interested in them, and following the fall in the naira, these machines will cost between N1.6 and N1.7 million each with the duty, transportation, delivery, handling at the port and training.
“We will give states a discount of 40 per cent,’’ Ogbeh said.
He said that the harvesters had the capacity to work on no fewer than four hectares in a day, while the threshers could do about 25 bags of rice within an hour.
Mr William Onyilo, the Assistant Manager of Efugo Farms, where the machines were being assembled, said the use of harvesters would reduce introduction of stones normally seen in locally produced rice.
He urged states to key into the use of the machine to increase production of rice.