JICA committed to ensuring quality rice production in Nigeria — official
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has expressed its commitment to assist Nigerian rice farmers to produce quality rice for export.
Mrs Salamatu Baba, the Public Relations/Social Sector Officer of JICA, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Baba said that boosting rice farmers’ capacity to cultivate satisfactory quantity of paddy was critical to Nigeria’s goal of achieving self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018.
“Toward the Nigerian goal of self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018, it is important that rice produce quality paddy products from which can compete with foreign rice.”
Baba explained that in an effort to achieve the goal, JICA had organised sensitisation workshops in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in December 2015, February and March, 2016.
She called for the standardisation of grading methods among millers and traders to improve farmers’ knowledge of modern rice production.
She further advocated the implementation of SON and the creation of awareness stakeholders, saying that this would contribute to the improvement of paddy quality in the country.
“Regarding standardisation, the first work was a study on paddy grading methods in integrated rice mills, which was funded by GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation) in December 2014.
“ In February 2015, we conducted further study on the initiative.
“Taking into account the results of the studies and the grading methods set by U.S. Department of Agriculture and others, Japan, through consultation with SON, the ministry and other agencies, developed the manual on paddy grading.”
The aim, according to her, was to involve farmers in the implementation of SON standard and also to develop farmer-friendly paddy quality checking manuals.
Baba said that the manuals were adopted at the stakeholders meeting in March 2016.
“The initiative is part of JICA’s commitment to improving the quality of rice produced in Nigeria in collaboration with SON.
“It is also geared toward developing a paddy grading manual for rice farmers,” she said.