The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has empowered 114 youths and 6 women’s groups with rice milling machines, sprayers and motorcycles as part of its rice consortium project in Niger State in order to increase rice production and food security in the state.
Offering his thoughts on the distribution of these resources at the Agricultural and Mechanization Authority in Minna, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, secretary to the Niger State government, noted that the provision of equipment and motorcycles would be a serious energizer for the youth.
Those youths benefiting from the equipment included 114 community-based facilitators, while 19 extension agents received motorcycles for improved mobility.
With the motorcycles distributed to them, agents will be able to move between locations faster and with more flexibility. They will also have an easier time linking to the hinterland, which can be difficult to access by vehicles for several reasons.
Representing Matane, the permanent secretary of economic affairs, Alhaji Baba Wachiko, urged the Ministry of Agriculture to develop a tracking system to adequately monitor the machines and equipment distributed and prevent them from being sold or misused.
Meanwhile, Nuhu Dukku, the commissioner for livestock and fisheries, who spoke on behalf of the commissioner for agriculture, expressed thanks to AGRA for the intervention, particularly for addressing extension agents’ lack of mobility, saying that it would enable them to carry out their duties with ease.
Godswill Aguiyi, associate program officer for AGRA, explained that the organization is targeting 150,000 farms for improved inputs and support in good agricultural practices and post-harvest management in order to improve the productivity and income of farmers in the state.
“We are here to cover gaps identified in farming in the state. AGRA is here to help the farmers and support them in what they are doing. What we are doing will not change the dynamics of farming in Niger state but it will go a long way to help the beneficiaries.”