The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has said that the Federal Government would train 100 rice farmers in Kebbi, as part of efforts to boost rice production in the country.
The minister said this, on Monday, in Birnin Kebbi, when he declared open the two-day Farmers Forum and Exhibition, jointly organised by the Kebbi Ministry of Agriculture and Daily Trust Newspapers.
Ogbeh, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Abdullahi Shehu, said that Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, had elevated the status of Kebbi in commercial rice production.
He said that the training of the 100 farmers from Kebbi in commercial rice production was in recognition of the success, which the state government had recorded in rice production under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In his remarks, Bagudu said that additional investments were required to significantly improve rice production in the country.
He reiterated his determination to sustain and improve rice production in the state for local consumption and exports.
The governor, who said that investments in agriculture had more benefits than investments in fuel subsidy, however, noted that the government was spending more money on fuel subsidy than on the Anchor Borrowers Programme for instance.
The Kebbi Commissioner for Agriculture, Mohammed Dandiga, said that the organisation of farmers forum and exhibition was part of the agricultural initiative of the Bagudu-administration.
He said that the ministry decided to partner with Daily Trust Newspapers, in organising the programme, because of the achievements which the state recorded under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
Speaking, Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), described the exhibition as a good development, saying that it had the potential of creating employment opportunities for the youth in the state and country at large.
Baru, who was represented by Abdulganiyu Sani, said that the NNPC would collaborate with relevant stakeholders, who were willing to invest in agriculture in the state.
Also speaking, Manir Dan Ali, the Chief Executive Officer/Editor-in-Chief of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust Newspapers, said that the forum and agricultural exhibition presented a platform for showcasing the food production potential of Kebbi and the country in general.