Dr Mark Ukwungwu, Executive Director, National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Birnin- Kebbi, said the institute had released 301 varieties of rice seedlings to farmers.

Ukwungwu announced this in Birnin-Kebbi on Tuesday during the distribution of rice seedlings to farmers as part of activities to mark the Rice Farmer’s Field Day 2013.

He said the institute had accelerated the development of 120 high yielding varieties of rice.

Ukwungwu added that 30 varieties had been screened and approved for farmers in Kebbi State.

He said 10 soya bean and five beniseed varieties were also approved for farmers.

The institute has the capacity to produce foundation seeds of rice, soya bean, beniseed and improved industrial sugar cane seedlings for Kebbi state’’, Ukwungwu said.

The executive director commended the Kebbi government for the provision of a motorized borehole and 25 KVA electricity generators to the institute.

Ukwungwu praised the government for allocating land for the establishment of NCRI sub-stations in Yauri and Zuru emirate councils.

He, however, called on the government to provide a van for field operations in Zuru and Yauri as well as rehabilitation of road and channeling of Fadama for irrigation activities.

The Head of NCRI in Kebbi state, Dr Phillips Ibrahim, pleaded with the state authorities to approve the proposed additional center for the state rice initiative project.

The objective of the project is to have a comprehensive programme for the improvement of rice value chain in Kebbi state”, Ibrahim said.

The Kebbi Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu, commended the institute for development of rice production and assured of state support.

He said state officers would be encouraged to work closely with the institute to upgrade rice production for export. (NAN)

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