Dr Philip Idinoba, a rice commodity specialist with AfricaRice, has called on the Federal and the state governments to invest more in dry season farming to boost rice cultivation.
Idinoba, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Gombe, said dry season farming would help the country achieve rice sufficiency and food security.
According to him, the gap between wet and dry season farming in terms of the number of farmers cultivating rice needed to be bridged if the country wanted to attain sufficiency in production.
Idinoba stated that the number of farmers who cultivated rice in the dry season was grossly inadequate to complement commodity produced by their counterparts during wet season farming.
“If we consume rice all year round with the ever growing population, then we need more farmers to grow the commodity all year round too, to be able to complement wet season farming to feed our people.
“As rice is being harvested now in the wet season, before you get to June 2021, all the millers are looking for paddy to buy, they cannot get. Even now there is no sufficient paddy.
“ You can never meet the population gap in terms of the number of children being weaned annually to join those eating rice, and urbanization that depend more on staple foods like rice,’’ he said.
Idinoba said that government needed to re-invest more to empower farmers to be able to grow rice in the dry season.
He advised the Ministry of Water Resources to resuscitate dams across the country to make them efficient to deliver water to support dry seasoning farming.
Idinoba said that farmers in contiguous lowland areas should be assisted to develop the areas, plough and structure them to enable them do some simple water system management.
“There should be assistance such as river diversion to bring water to their fields.
“ Give them water pumps, inputs like fertilizers, because we need dry season farming to ensure availability of paddy for millers in the country,’’ he said.
Idinoba also appealed to government to address the disorder in the production system caused by herders – farmers conflicts.
He noted that the conflict had become intense in the Middle belt, mainly in the key rice production areas.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Razak Owolabi
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