The Federal Government and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), at the weekend signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for proper utilization of irrigation channels of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA) to boost rice production across the country.
The River Basin Authorities include Anambra-Imo, Benin- Owena, Chad Basin, Cross River, Hadejia-Jama’are, Lower Benue and Lower Niger. Others are Niger Delta; Ogun – Osun; Sokoto – Rima; Upper Benue and Upper Niger Basin Authorities.
The President, RIFAN Mr. Aminu Goronyo, while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said that the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu gave the approval.
He said the approval would reposition and strengthen rice farmers to produce more and make Nigeria to become major economic nerve-centre in rice production line with government’s economic diversification policy.
He added that the Minister described the move as his contribution towards the Presidential initiative to make Nigeria rice hub in Africa and ensure food security.
He said the move has become imperative as food demand rises due to growing populations and with the closure of borders increased agricultural output is crucial.
Goronyo added that while irrigation is essential for rice production improvement there is a need for complementary services, infrastructure, and institutions for greater impacts on production and wellbeing.
He averred that since agriculture across the country is currently rain-fed, increased availability of irrigation use by farmers are very essential and in high demand.