40,000 Civil servants in Niger state are expected to participate in the 2021 wet season rice farming project.

Niger state coordinator of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mallam Idris Usman Makanta, disclosed this in Minna, the state capital when he received an award from the Nigeria Association Of Women in Agricultural & Young Farmers Association Of Nigeria.

Makanta who spoke after the presentation of the award said civil servants, institutions, lecturers and students would be included in the farming project and they’ll also be provided with necessary guidance and inputs for the upcoming wet season farming.

He noted that the gesture was aimed at reducing poverty and too much dependence on salary as their means of livelihood.

The coordinator also announced that the Central Bank of Nigeria has granted Niger state the opportunity to cultivate 200,000 hectares of rice for the wet season farming.

“The rice farming project is a wake up call to everyone. Women and youths have suffered enough in the country and we must do everything possible to help them. I will try to improve the RIFAN project to ensure a lot of people benefit from it.

“No gold in the world that is better than rice. Niger state has 10 percent of landmass in Nigeria. 70 percent of the land are arable lands. It is frustrating and disappointing that the state only cultivate 10 percent of the land. We have initiated intervention to capture 40, 000 civil servants if they will cultivate at least 1 hectare of land or more and we will engage all the institutions, lecturers and students to be part of the programme, ” he said.

In his goodwill message, a member of Niger State House of Assembly representing Bida, Engineer Muhammed Haruna, said Makanta has provided succor to people in terms of empowerment.

He therefore appealed to him to rally round all Chairmen of RIFAN all over Nigeria for effective synergy and strategies on how not to farm for consumption only but a large scale farming that can be exported.

The Coordinators of women farmers and young farmers, Helen Shaba and Kabir Muhammed said they presented the award to him as a sign of their appreciation for his contribution to the state and their projects.

Makanta was awarded the Jagaban Manoman Niger (leaders of farmers in Niger) and Haskrn Manoman Niger (Light of farmers in Niger).

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