Enugu State Graduate Farmers (ESGF) on Wednesday trained 300 farmers on modern best practices in rice production, processing and marketing in the state.
reports that the one day training organised at the Enugu Sports Club Hall was themed: ” From Rice Production to Wealth Creation.”
In his remarks, Mr Patrick Mbah who doubled as the President of ESGF and the National Vice Chairman of Fish Production in South East, said the training was timely and would boost rice productivity.
Mbah said the training was purely for rice farmers on grain production to ensure bumper harvest.
We also have farmers that are into processing and marketing because we want to avoid the mistakes of the past where we have low productivity.
”This training will help the farmers to produce quality rice that one can consume and as well maximise profit, ” he said.
He said that the ESGF had over 150 corporatives and each corporative accommodated 15 to 20 youths that had been engaged in rice production.
Mbah noted that a similar training had been organised for fish and poultry farmers in the state.
” We will keep organising this kind of training for our members from time to time and I believe that those present will educate others, ” he said.
A resource person at the event, Prof. Happiness Oselebe, said that agriculture provide high level of employment in the country.
Oselebe said that rice farming had techniques and procedures that must be observed to ensure higher productivity.
Oselebe who is a lecturer in the Department of Crop Production and Landscape Management at Ebonyi State University said that rice remains a marketable product globally.
She urged the rice farmers to always go for improved variety and consider climate and farmland while planning for farming.
” The variety of seed go with each farmland, some seeds can do well in swampy areas, while some do better upland.
” Best method of rice farming is the mechanised method and ensure you monitor the farmland right from the day of planting till the day of harvest,” she said.
Oselebe listed some major problems in rice farming to include improper planning, low management and skills to rice farming, among others.
Mr Tony Mouneke, AAPIL Consultant and rice expert in the state, urged farmers to always barricade their farmland in order to protect the rice seeds from rain.
” Make a good choice and manage the farm well by weeding, protecting it against rodents, pests and other things.
” Ensure you change seed after three years of harvest because after three years you start seeing what we call, ”genetic segregation, ” Mouneke said.
He advised the farmers to apply fertiliser be it organic or inorganic properly according to directive by rice farm experts.
In his remarks, the chairman of the Organising Committee, Mr Gregory Obiakosa, said the training had impacted a lot on the farmers.
” This training was organised due to the terrible experience we had in the past because of ignorance in rice farming.
” After this training, I believe that things will change for good and there will be baskets of food in the country, ” he said.
A participant, Mrs Mabel Edeh from Ebonyi, said the training had been the best thing that had happened to rice farmers in the state.
Edeh said the training would go a long way in correcting the wrongs committed by most rice farmers in the past.
” It will be nice for government to organise this kind of training for farmers,” she said.