IFAD to mechanise rice, cassava production in Niger
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has said that it would assist farmers in three selected local government areas in Niger in the mechanisation of rice and cassava production.
Ms Atsuko Toda, the Fund’s Country Programme Manager, made this known on Saturday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kanko village in Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger.
She said “we have to increase yield of rice and cassava so that farmers can earn more money after sales because what they make now is small.
“We have to give the rice and cassava farmers access to improved seeds and agro inputs.
“We will see what we can do in the area of mechanisation such as providing tractors, threshers and other machinery on the farms.’’
Toda said IFAD would also work toward improving irrigation facilities and rehabilitation of rural roads in the three selected local government areas of Wushishi, Katcha and Bida.
She urged the state government to continue its support for the Value Chain Development Programme toward increased yield and improved market prices for farmers.
Mr Rab Nawaz, the Team Leader, IFAD Supervision Mission to the country, also told NAN that farmers produce an average of two tonnes of rice and cassava respectively per year.
He said “it is really a good production but they still have mechanisation challenges because the work is done manually.
“The introduction of mechanisation will help them to get better yield and expand their area to farming.’’
Nawaz said the huge irrigation resources coming from the Niger River Basin Development Authority would enable farmers to produce rice thrice a year.
He urged the farmers to embrace mechanised agriculture to enable the country to attain self sufficiency in rice production.
Malam Ndagi Nma, a leading rice farmer in Kanko, said the lack of market, non expansion of land, the lack of inputs and access road were some of the challenges farmers face.
He said the farmers would brace up in their production when the state government address these daunting challenges.
Meanwhile, the Niger goverment and IFAD would counterfund the programme, while the Federal Government would manage the national office of the Fund.