Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State says 6,975 metric tonnes of rice will be harvested in 2016 cropping season in the state.Lalong expressed the optimism on Thursday in Ajikamai, Shendam Local Government Area, where he launched the Fadama III rice production by Fadama clusters.
He said: “From expert estimation, 6,975 metric tonnes of rice will be harvested during 2016 season.
“This is a giant stride towards attaining food sufficiency not only in Plateau but the country in general.”
The governor said the State Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with Fadama III project had disbursed rice seeds to 1,395 beneficiaries in the state.
According to the governor, this gesture will translate to the cultivation of 1,395 hectares put together.
He said the state government would continue to build stronger bridges between agricultural sector and the rest of the economy.
Lalong said the Fadama project had stimulated the government to establish processing plants for rice and tomato through public private partnership arrangement.
According to him, the state is endowed with 100,000 hectares of Fadama farm lands, cleared and suitable for rice production.
He said the state also has 200,000 hectares of all-season farm land suitable for tomato production.
Lalong stated that his administration was desirous to reduce poverty among the people of Plateau State and attain food sufficiency.
He said the state government had promptly paid arrears of counterpart fund for the Fadama III project for 2014 and 2015.
“This is what has given the state the legitimacy to be considered for the Fadama III Additional Financing Project which allows greater participation by farmers in the project,” he said.
The governor said although the Fadama III Project said they would support only tomato farming in the additional financing support, he requested for rice because of the comparative advantage.
The National Coordinator of Fadama III Project, Adetayo Adewumi, assured the government of continuous support to the State Fadama Coordination Office for the benefit of the farmers.
Adewumi said the SFCO had received awards for its excellent work in Plateau State and had been rated the best SFCO in Northern Nigeria by the House Committee on Agriculture in 2014.
He also said Plateau State was the first to establish a Fadama Farmers Micro-finance Bank through savings realised by farmers under the Farmers Users Equity Funds.
He said: “Just recently, the state was rated ‘second to none’ during the 4th World Bank-FGN Supervision Mission in January 2016 by Task Team leader, Dr. Adetunji Oredipe.
“This was an additional reason for the consideration by both the national office and the World Bank to allow an additional crop (rice) to be supported under Fadama III additional finance support on the Plateau.”
Similarly, Gideon Dandam, the Plateau State Fadama III Coordinator, also commended the state government for the support that the the project had so far enjoyed.
Dandam pledged the SFCO’s loyalty to government’s quest for poverty reduction and food security.