Rice is one of the most common staple food world over.
No doubt, it is an important crop in Nigeria, as it is very easy to produce and also, it yields good profit.
Research has indicated that about 5.5 Million Tonnes of rice is consumed annually in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the amount of rice being produced locally is just about 3.6 Million tonnes annualy, meaning that the country still imports 1.9 Million tonnes of rice from other countries.
Unfortunately, this costs about three hundred and sixty five Billion Naira anually to import the needed amount of rice.
This is because local production alone cannot satisfy the needed quantity of rice for Nigeria.
To address the situation, Federal Gorvernment in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) came up with a Six-Year Value Chain Development Initiative, tagged “Value Chain Development Programme” (VADP).
The initiative is to adopt the Value Chain approach, enhance productivity and above all boost availabilty of rice production as good seedlings were planted.
It is also to ensure quality.
To this end, 5 youths from Ebonyi, Niger, Anambra, Ogun, Taraba and Benue states were randomly selected and trained on rice seed production.
The 30 Youths, which is the fourth batch since the commencement of the programme in 2015, were trained on ways to generate good seedlings, which in turn will be distributed to local farmers in their locality.
Commenting on their 50 days training, participants from Anambra State and Taraba, explained that they have learnt new methods of planting rice.
Also, Mr Jacob Tsau from Benue State and Miss Uzodima from Ebonyi State said the training has enlightened them on ways to make great wealth from improved seedlings by selling to local Farmers.
Corroborating, participants from Niger and Ogun states, Ahmed Mohammed and Oladele Olowookere described the training as an eye opener to the youths as it would turn them to employers of labour rather than seeking white collar job.
The National Programme Coordinator IFAD , Mr Onoja Ameh represented by the Ogun State Programme Coordinator, Mr Samuel Adeogun encouraged the participants to team up and boost rice production in Nigeria and for exportation purpose.
Mr Ameh said the states were selected based on their capacity to produce, availabilty of the land and the readiness of their state government to support the program.
The National Coordinator explained further that the youths were members of Rice Farmer Associations in their various states.
Contributing, the Regional Representative of Africa Rice, Dr. Francis Nwaline said the training would boost availability of quality rice seeds in the country.
In a remark, Rice Seed expert with Africa Rice, Dr Abraham Shuaibu, explained that the 50 days training will not only yield good rice planting system but also increase quantity of rice to be harvested.
The youths were later presented with certificate of participation by the organisers of the programme.