The Federal Government of Nigeria kicked off the distribution of agriculture app smartphones to rice farmers across the country on Wednesday, November 30, 2016.
According to Vanguard, the distribution of the RICEADVICE smartphones which was done through the National Cereals Research Institute, NCRI, began with the training of 50 rice farmers extension officers on how to use the smartphones to obtain relevant information to boost the production of rice in the country.
The training programme drew participants from six pilot states of Kogi, Nasarawa, Kano, Ebonyi, Kebbi and Niger, where rice is being produced with comparative advantage.
The Acting Executive Director of NCRI, Agboire Samuel who spoke during the event said the gesture was part of the policy of the Federal Government targeted at increasing rice production in the country to meet both local and export demands.
Mr. Samuel said the agriculture app smartphones would in addition to serving as e-extension tools for farmers in the area of rice production, also serve as employment opportunity for the beneficiaries given the applications embedded in the gadget.
Meanwhile, The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday, November 29, predicted that based on the success of its agricultural financing, the country would begin the exportation of rice in 2017.
The apex bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communication, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, disclosed this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, when he sensitised farmers to how to adopt the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP). According to him, the price of rice has started to fall in Ebonyi and other states to N8,000.
Okoroafor said by next year, the ABP would have bridged the demand gap of about six million tons of rice annually.
He explained that in the pilot project of ABP in Kebbi State, 78,000 registered farmers cultivated an average of one hectare each, which led to its ability to distribute over one million tons of rice.
In addition, Okoroafor said Ebonyi State was already producing 1.2million tons of rice annually and other states like Jigawa, Sokoto, Cross River, Anambra and Imo were also increasing their contribution.