Farmers, under the aegis of FADAMA III Additional Financing (AF) project, are currently cultivating 60 hectares of rice farms in Jigawa State to enhance rice seed multiplication.
Project Coordinator, Alhaji Aminu Isa, told newsmen, in Dutse, on Thursday, that the rice cultivation project was taking place in 23 rice producing local government areas of the state.
Isa said that the project, which initially planned to cultivate 1,000 hectares of rice farms, was scaled down to only 60 hectares because of the shortage of water in some of the farms.
He said that high yielding and certified seeds used in the project were acquired from the National Agricultural Seeds Council of Nigeria (NASCN).
He said that 35 tube wells had been sunk to produce water for the project.
“Six tube wells were also sunk for every 10 hectares of rice farmland,’’ the coordinator said.
Isa added that the farmers, who were already given fertilisers, would also get adequate water pumps to irrigate their farms.
“The farmers were provided with certified and high-quality rice seeds and fertilisers. The initiative is aimed at addressing the challenges facing rice production in the state,’’ he said.
The FADAMA official said that farmers under the FADAMA III programme had cultivated over 7,000 hectares of rice farms across the state.
Isa, however, said that the yields were not encouraging because seeds used in the production were not good enough.
“Therefore, quality seeds are critical to rice production, hence the need to support and encourage seed production; that is why we have empowered our farmers with high yielding seeds.
“However, this is the first time our farmers are producing the seeds themselves,’’ he said.
The coordinator said that good locations were selected for the rice cultivation project in order to ensure high productivity.
“We selected locations with adequate water and where the soil has proved to be good for rice seedling production.
“Such places include Kafin-Hausa and Auyo Local Government Areas, where Dangote Group is engaging in rice production.
“The other locations are Kazaure and Roni Local Government Areas of the state,’’ Isa added.