Expert urges farmers to grow quality paddy rice to boost productivity
An agriculturalist, Mr Michael Nasamu, has urged rice farmers to cultivate of quality paddy rice so as to boost the nation’s efforts to attain self-sufficiency in rice production.
Nasamu, who is the Regional Consultant, Coalition for African Rice Development, made the call on Tuesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that massive rice production in the country could only be achieved through the cultivation of quality paddy and grading standardisation.
“Paddy grading standard is important to control the quality of paddy traded in the Nigeria market.
“‘All things being equal, quality paddy will lead to quality milled rice which can compete well with imported rice,’’ he said.
Nasamu said that if the farmers were able to cultivate quality paddy, they would garner attract the increased patronage of millers, adding that this would also boost the famers’ income.
He, however, called for the organisation of practical sensitisation campaigns to educate farmers on the importance of paddy grading standards.
The regional consultant advised the farmers to do away with the traditional methods of rice farming in the country.
“Sensitisation is very vital in our efforts to inform all who are concerned in the sector.
“Government must ensure that farmers are sensitised to the benefits of producing quality paddy for rice mills.
“For us as a country to attain self-sufficiency in rice production, we need to produce sufficient amount of quality paddy for processing and this can be achieved via the application of modern technology,’’ he said.
Besides, Nasamu said that the national economy would improve considerably through the adoption of value added rice production chain.
He stressed that the foreign exchange, hitherto expended on importation of rice, would be conserved and used to develop other sectors of the economy.
Nasamu underscored the need to sponsor researches on improved seed varieties and finance small-scale farmers who wanted to engage in large-scale rice farming.
“All the stakeholders in the agricultural sector and the government at all levels should concertedly support the national initiative on rice farming.
“By so doing, we will all engender the success of the initiative and be able to handle other programmes that are relevant to prosperity of this country and the well-being of its citizens,’’ he said.