NIGER— Niger has launched the “National Strategy for the Development of Rice Culture (SNDR)”, a CFA franc (US$653 million), 10-year project on a new roadmap for the development of the rice sector.
According to Alambedji Issa, Minister of Agriculture, the initiative will increase the level of local paddy rice production to more than 1.4 million tonnes in the long term against a harvest of 127,861 tonnes in 2021. It should also contribute to increasing the local supply of milled rice to 947,000 tons against a current level of 83,100 tons.
As part of this ambition, the NRDS will revolve around several axes including the modernization of production, the promotion of processing, the improvement of the institutional environment and the strengthening of the technical and organizational capacities of actors in the sector.
According to Mr. Issa, the interventions on the ground will primarily concern the increase in sown areas, the improvement of access to inputs (seeds, fertilizers and phytosanitary products), better management of water resources or even the mechanization and strengthening access to finance.
Overall, the authorities expect 100% coverage of the country’s consumption needs, which currently stand at around 500,000 tonnes of white rice by 2030. With regard to socio-economic benefits, the creation of approximately 420,000 new jobs and the installation of more than 2,000 processing units.
In Niger, rice growing is mainly practiced in the Niger River valley in the departments of Tillabéry and Dosso. The sector provides livelihoods to over 2.3 million people.
In Nigeria, Rice farmers in Kwara State have called on the federal government to dredge the River Niger to increase harvest circles in the state.
According to the chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kwara State chapter, Ahmed Saba, said the move will increase rice production in Kwara and Nigeria as a whole tremendously.
“If the River Niger is dredged, it will afford us the opportunity to do three circles of rice farming per year in Nigeria instead of the present one each in dry and rainy season. It means we can have two dry seasons farming and one in the rainy season,” he said.
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