FAO, AfricaRice commence training of 300 farmers on rice seeds production
ABUJA- THE Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, and Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice),have commenced training of 300 community based rice farmers on quality rice seeds production to boost yield and consumption.
This was disclosed by the FAO Deputy Representative to Nigeria, Nourou Macki, who said it has become necessary to build the capacity of farmers on production of quality rice seed, which will be for youths and women, and also rice seeds producers.
According to Macki the training being conducted was under the Partnership for Sustainable Rice Systems Development in Sub-Saharan Africa agreement between FAO and AfricaRice.
The trainees are drawn from six states, which include Ekiti, Edo, Anambra, Abia, Nassarawa and Jigawa for the project, which 50 participants will benefit from the training in each state and also demonstration plots and backstopping mission established as part of sustaining the project.
It will facilitate the emergence of efficient rice production systems for Nigeria supported through the promotion of adoption of best practices and upscaling of proven and tested technologies. It will build national capacity, enhance sustainable development of the rice food chain among smallholder farmers and contribute to increase food security in the country.
He said: “Seed mixtures and lack of good quality rice seeds are common phenomena and major constraints to rice production in Nigeria. The quality of breeder seed is poor and the quantity available is inadequate to support foundation and certified seed production.
“FAO is therefore partnering with AfricaRice to train seed producers in rice seed and paddy production technology, produce and distribute training manuals on rice seed production technology, and set up demonstration plots to showcase seed production technologies including land preparation.
“The goal is to ensure that Nigeria attains self-sufficiency in rice production through access and availability of good quality seed of released rice varieties.”
Meanwhile, a representative of Africa Rice, Oyetunji Olumoye, lamented the lack of basic knowledge by seed producers on quality rice seeds production in the country.
“Food insecurity is a big challenge in Nigeria. Seed mixtures and lack of good quality rice seeds is a common phenomenon and major constraint to rice production in Nigeria. Farmers do not have enough quantity of rice seed for production. The little they have contain impurity and mixtures,” he stated.
The project coordinator, Andrew Ikhadeumu said the training would dove tail to availability of quality paddy for millers and processors.
“The overall objective of the training program is to enhance farmers’ access to quality rice seed and also make quality paddy available to millers and processors in the selected states. The trainees will continue to be monitored throughout the period of planting to crop maturity”, Ikhadeunu added.