By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Niger State Government has said that no fewer than seventeen thousand lirrigation farms in parts of the state have been reactivated ahead of the dry season for irrigation fed farming as part of the concerted efforts to encourage an all year round farming activities in the state to boost food availability.
The government had earlier procured mechanised equipment and facilities for irrigation to set the stage for a full blown irrigation farming from this year.
Deputy Governor of the state, Ahmed Muhammad Ketso said during the opening of the first national trade promotion and knowledge fare on agriculture and agricultural products exhibition show in Minna, the state capital that the present administration in the state was determined to make farming a lucrative business and farmers smile.
He disclosed that the state government was committed to paying all outstanding counterpart funds for agricultural development projects in the state.
He said the present administration in the state was determined to get the best out of the state’s large expanse of arable land across the state hence it’s resolve to support all efforts at ensuring bumber harvest in farming and other agricultural practices.
He assured that the state government would not reneged on it’s pledge to support the efforts by farmers to get the best out of their efforts and sweat.
Ketso who stood in for Governor Abubakar Sani Bello at the occasion, said the administration has prioritised agriculture as a deliberate policy so as to give farmers in the state the opportunity to enhance their productivities and boost food production and enhance revenue generation in the state and as well gurarantee food security in the country.
He disclosed that the state government had purchased over five thousand metric tonnes of fertiliser this year beside the four thousand received earlier from the federal government and distributed all to farmers across the state at subsidized price to ensure availability of the farm inputs.
He said the seventeen thousand irrigation schemes that were revamped in parts of the state were part of the efforts to guarantee huge cropping and bumper harvest from farmers.
He disclosed also that the state government had supported five thousand small holder rice farmers at Swashi irrigation site at Wushishi local government area to cultivate over 17,500 hectres of rice fields to improve rice production in the state.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe who spoke through his aide at the occasion, Ota Ape said the federal Ministry of Agriculture was assisting state governments in various ways to boost food production through agriculture value chain programmes.
He said the Ministry was determined to ensure that rice and cassava production were galvernized for full value chain development programme across states endowed with abundant lands suitable for the production of the two cash crops.