The Bauchi State Chapter of the Rice farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has commended the Federal Government for the N14 billion dry season farming intervention fund.
Dr. Yahaya Adamu, the Chairman of the association, who gave the commendation in Bauchi, said the gesture would go a long way to boost rice production in the country.
“Last year, it was nine billion and this year it was increased to 14 billion. This is a clear indication of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration’s commitment toward ensuring food security in the country.
“If the fund is judiciously disbursed and effectively utilised, I assure you that there is going to be bumper harvest in this year’s dry season farming programme.”
Adamu, however, appealed to the Federal Government that subsequently, such fund should be released on time for effective utilisation.
“The timing was very faulty. It would have been better if the money was released by November or even December; that way, we could get fertiliser on time, seeds on time and other inputs on time.
“Usually, we prepare our nursery in January and by the end of that month it will germinate. By the second week of February, it is ready for transplanting and within two weeks it will require fertiliser.
“But the fund has just been released and for farmers who could not make any preparation, I doubt much if they will harvest much, because it will be late.
“If the fund is released on time, and inputs are made available by November, farmers would commence land preparation from January with high guarantee that by May, they will harvest their produce before rain sets in.”
The chairman expressed optimism that in spite of the lateness, Bauchi farmers had prepared ahead of time, adding that the association targets 100,000 tonnes in this year’s dry season farming.
President Goodluck Jonathan had on Jan. 20 approved the disbursement of N14 billion in support of the 2014 dry season farming.
Jonathan also directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that the programme commenced not later than October of the preceding year.