ABUJA- National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has trained over 100 rice farmers on irrigation farming in Paikoro Local Government Area of Niger State.
Conducting newsmen round the acquired 417 hectares for the irrigation farming at the weekend in Niger State, the NALDA State Coordinator, Mr. Aminu Umaru, explained that over one hundred farmers were trained in rice irrigation farming and upland rice farming designed to harness the potential of River Kaduna and improve the incomes of the local farmers.
Umaru further explained that over 70 hectares have already been ploughed with rice nursery, adding that transplanting of the rice from the nursery would soon commence.
He however observed that with the presence of NALDA in the community, many young farmers have indicated interest to be trained in rice planting and the handling of farm tools and equipment.
He further explained that over 10 pumping machines, two tractors,fifty planters,sprayers,transplanters, seedlings,gloves and other farming tools have been provided to assist trained farmers,noting that 10 women from the community were also trained in the programme.
The Niger state NALDA boss noted that the Dam used for the rice irrigation farming was made possible through the abandoned water dam, which was embarked upon by River Basin Development Authority.
He promised that the programme would be sustained even after the irrigation farming.
The Niger State NALDA Coordinator said the training was conducted free of charge for farmers.
He further urged the beneficiaries to co-opt the Fulani herders in the neighbouring community into the programme to provide security for the large farm space and also to forestall farmers/ herders clashes in the community.
In an interview with newsmen, Salisu Noma, one of the beneficiaries of the rice irrigation training, said prior to the coming of NALDA to the community, they were not able to utilise the potential of the River in rice farming.
Another beneficiary, Ahmadu Isah, who is the Sarki Ruwa of the community, thanked NALDA, adding that rice farmers in the community have witnessed progress.
Isah also appealed to the government and NALDA to support the farmers with mobility due to the long distance of the farming area.
For Sadia Ahmed, one of the female beneficiaries, she said NALDA had taught them land clearing as well as assisted the men in planting and harvesting of their farm produce, while appealing for the continuity in the programme.
It would be recalled that the flag-off of the programme in Niger State, marked the commencement of NALDA’s dry season farming in five states of Adamawa, Bauchi,Niger,Yobe and Taraba.
This initiative was part of efforts to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s programme on accelerated food security and economic diversification.
It was also gathered that the organic fertilizer through the rabbit scheme being championed by NALDA would be used for the farming programme.