The Federal Government on Monday said it would provide incentives to 10,000 dry season rice farmers in Bauchi State as part of effort to ensure food security in the country.

Alhaji Mohammed Yusuf, the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the state, told the press in Bauchi that the initiative would be provided under the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme.

 He said each farmer would receive three bags of fertilizer at 50 per cent discount and 25kg of improved rice seeds.

“The state government will also get 40 (3HP) and 13 (7HP) water pumps at 75 per cent discount, which will serve the farmers registered for the programme.

“More than 400,000 farmers from 19 participating states are being supported with the inputs to help boost their production capacity under the 2013/2014 dry season GES scheme.

“The effort produced more than one million tonnes of rice during last year’s dry season farming with just over 200,000 farmers drawn from 10 states.

“We intend to double or even triple the production this year.

“We have already carried out sensitization campaign across the state, identified genuine farmers, enlightened them and assessed their level of preparedness in respect of land and source of water.

“I am happy to inform you that our farmers are ready; they have prepared their lands in clusters and ready for planting. Very soon, we will commence distribution of the inputs,“ he said.

The director advised the farmers to utilize the inputs to expand their production capacity, adding that the problems of processing and marketing had been addressed through value chain initiative.

He said 15 integrated rice mills had been established in Kano, Lagos, Benue, Kebbi, Jigawa, Anambra, Imo, and Niger.

According to him, the mills have a combined capacity to process 850,000 tonnes of rice.

“The Federal Government, in collaboration with USAID, is also planning to establish rice collection centers across the federation for easy evacuation of paddy by the millers.

“I assure you that the government is doing everything possible to make rice farming profitable,” he said.

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