FADAMA Abia in conjunction with the British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation distributed satisfied foundation rice seeds that can produce high yields to Abia farmers.
A total of 140 farmers were given 50kg bag of Faro 52 rice each from the returned seeds.
However ,the state has promised to escalate the project by providing additional seed to 800 rice farmers across the four rice growing areas of Abia state which include Umuahia North ,Bende , Isukwato and Arochukwu.
The Project Coordinator ,Abia state FADAMA NG-CARES ,Pastor Johnson Ibe ,who disclosed this while distributing the rice seeds to farmers at FADAMA head office Umuahia, said that ,” In May ,2018 the British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) entered into partnership with Abia state FADAMA co- ordination office as partner to support poor rural small holder farmers in Isukwato, Bende , Arochukwu and Umuahia North Local government Areas of Abia state .
He said the essence is in meeting with the British Tobacco Nigeria Foundation objective of empowering rural Nigerians for sustainable future through sustainable Agricultural value chain development.
According to him , ” The foundation sought to implement – ABC crop management project for selected small holder rice farmers at Isuikwuato , Bende , Arochukwu and Umuahia North LGAs of Abia state.This is expected to enhance the production skills , productivity , marketing and income of members of the rice farmers group”
He pointed out that ,” The ABC of crop management project involve fifty (50) Small holder
Rice Farmers Groups ,each from the four identified LGAs and include the participation of 400 lead farmers in the establishment of 1 hectare of rice demonstration farms in four local government Areas”
He further informed, that the project implementation covered the identification and selection of lead farmers and benefitting groups , Conduct of Baseline survey and Needs Assessment , including initial study to identify specific training needs , Training 100 rice farmers (Lead farmers) from each 4 identified local government Areas in the area of Good Agricultural practices to increase their productivity by 40% , Ensure that the training is stepped down by Lead farmers, Establishment of demonstration farms to support the acceptability and adoption of technologies introduced , especially practices that promote market value of the rice produce, Step down training to other members of the group (4500) by the Lead farmers, Train lead farmers to sources of inputs and other opportunities available at the Federal and State Government levels , Strengthen farmer’s ability in bulking their grains for the market and linkages to an institutional market, Link farmers to sources of credit through Micro finance institutions, Agricultural Insurance providers and other assistance from Federal ,State and local government Agencies”
He stated that the outcome will be increment of participating farmers , increased yield from 1.5 tons to 5 tons /hectare,increase income ,Farm size increase from less than 0.5 ha to 0.1 ha, Number of women and youth participating in the programme,Age and gender differentials in the categories, Direct and indirect beneficiaries who adopted the introduced practices and technologies, increase in levels of environmental conservation and awareness for safe use of herbicides,use of fertilizers,water management, impact of the project on the host Community as a whole “
Continuing ,he revealed that ,” A total of 5 Lead farmers from 4 LGAs ( Isuikwuato , Bende Arochukwu and Umuahia North) were trained who also stepped down the training to 100 rice farmers each totalling 500 rice farmers training.Each of the Lead farmers were also supported by British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation in the establishment of 1 ha.demo plots making 5 hectares in all and about 21% of the yield from the demo plots was returned by the Lead Farmers and redistributed to other farmers ” he maintained.
Earlier ,the Permanent Secretary Abia state Ministry of Agriculture Sir Charles C Agbara while flagging -off the rice seeds distribution said the distribution of rice seeds to Abia farmers by FADAMA in conjunction with British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation is in line with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu ‘s policy of ensuring that there is enough food for Abians.
Sir Agbara who represented the Abia state government , said Governor Ikpeazu is so passionate about making sure that Ndi Abia feed very well so as to be healthy.
His words , ” This distribution of rice seeds to Abia farmers is in line with the Agriculture policy of Governor Ikpeazu to ensure that there is enough food for Abians.
” He is very passionate about it ,for you to be healthy,you need to eat well,apart from rice seeds,the Governor has been distributing other seeds to Abia farmers.
” I have to thank the FADAMA Abia led by pastor Johnson Ibe and the British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation for their support.
” I also want to commend the farmers ,while urging them to utilize the seeds very well, they are in position to know the right time and to make sure they plant the rice seeds at the appropriate time of the year to ensure high yield” he said.
In their appreciation, the leader of the farmers ,chief Ejimofor Okereke from Ahaba Imenyi on behalf of all the farmers , expressed appreciation to FADAMA Abia and British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation for supporting them as well as Governor Ikpeazu for being agricultural friendly Governor and urged Farmers to make sure they plant the rice seeds early to ensure bounty harvest.