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Monday, May 20, 2024

NDDC Partners Rice Farmers Association for Food Security

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has entered into a partnership with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, as part of its efforts to ensure food security in the Niger Delta region.

The NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, stated this during a strategic meeting between the Commission and a delegation from farmers association, led by the Deputy National President of RIFAN, Mr. Victor Korede, at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.

Ogbuku, who was represented by the NDDC Executive Director, Projects, Sir Victor Antai, said that the Commission was ready to partner with RIFAN to develop agriculture in the region, especially in the area of rice cultivation.

He stated: “With the new drive in NDDC, we are ready to go into partnership with RIFAN. We have two rice mills in Elele-Alimi, Rivers State and Mbiabet-Ikpe, Akwa Ibom State. We are interested in the smart agriculture approach of the farmers’ association.

“The NDDC Managing Director is determined to execute legacy projects which will impact positively and directly on the people of the region.

“In fulfilling the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, the NDDC introduced a pet programme, known as Holistic Opportunities, Projects and Engagement, HOPE, which has agriculture as one of its key components.

“The Project HOPE’ initiative seeks to engage youths of the region by creating employment opportunities for them. We have collated the data of the youths in the region and so many of them are interested in agriculture. The NDDC is resolute in the quest to provide food security in the Niger Delta region and we need to engage the youths in agriculture to achieve this goal.”

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer observed that the Niger Delta region was endowed with the right ingredients for rice growing, stating: “The Niger Delta region, due to the arable wetlands, rainfalls and other ecological factors in its favour, provides the window to plant rice at least, twice within a farming season. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to engage the rice farmers meaningfully as they have shown a strong desire to grow more rice.

“We are trying to move away from the oil economy and the sector which can accommodate our youths in large number is the agricultural sector. We also want to move from subsistent agriculture to mechanized farming in order to harness all the opportunities that the Niger Delta region has to offer.”

Speaking during the meeting, the Vice President, South South of RIFAN, Mr. Emmanuel Anoh, said the association was set to demonstrate that local production of food in sufficient quantity was possible in the country.

He explained: “We are here to discuss partnership with the NDDC on how best the region can feed Nigeria and contribute to the President’s agenda of self-sufficiency in food production. Rice is a global staple crop eaten by every home at least, thrice a week.

He added: “The Niger Delta Region has a comparative advantage on rice production, in comparison to other regions. With the massive arable land, favorable rain falls and other ecological factors that can boost rice production in the country, Niger Delta is the best choice.”

Anoh said that the NDDC was known for its timely interventions and empowerment and the rice farmers association thought it wise to collaborate with the Commission to work towards ensuring food security and creating employment for the youths.

The NDDC Executive Director, Projects, later led members of the rice farmers association to inspect the 180 tonnes per day Rice Mill at Elele Alimini in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He said: “Following the directive of our Managing Director, we have been asked to get this rice mill working again, starting from rice cultivation, mill processing and packaging.

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