In its efforts to boost rice production in the country, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Côte d’Ivoire based Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) have commenced the training of 300 farmers including youths and women drawn from six states across Nigeria in paddy production technology. The exercise involved strengthening the capacities of community-based rice farmers and rice seed producers for production of quality rice seed of improved variety. The training which is being conducted under the Partnership for Sustainable Rice Systems Development in Sub-Saharan Africa agreement between FAO and AfricaRice will build national capacity, enhance sustainable development of the rice food chain among smallholder farmers and contribute to increase food security in the country.
A press release in Abuja said that seed mixtures and lack of good quality rice seeds are common phenomena and major constraints to rice production in the country, adding that the quality of breeder seed is poor and the quantity available is inadequate to support foundation and certified seed production. FAO Deputy Representative to Nigeria, Nourou Macki noted that the focus of the programme was to train seed producers in seed and paddy production technology, produce and distribute training manuals on it as well as set up demonstrations to showcase seed production technologies, including land preparation. The exercise further involved strengthening the capacities of community based rice farmers in Ekiti, Edo, Anambra, Abia, Nassarawa and Jigawa provinces.