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The Institute for Agricultural Research of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria is training 1000 Bakolori farmers on new farming techniques tagged System of Rice Intensification for sustainable rice production.
Professor Sunday T Abu who presented a paper at an Inception Workshop on innovative research for testing and promotion of rice intensification practices organised for Bakolori rice farmers said the research program and training is to upgrade farmers knowledge to increase their productivity and profitability.
He said one of the scopes of the project is to teach the farmers the use of cost effective, accessible and environmentally friendly tools instead of those causing adverse effect on the soil adding that farmers would be brought to the fore front .
"We learnt that the yield for rice production is decreasing over the year for problems that have to do with poor quality of seeds and management of field water for irrigation. The over use of water on farming lands is making the land saline and toxic and farmers would always abandon the lands for another. So we are coming up with new methods that would make their production sustainable," he said.
Professor Abu further explained that the some of the main objectives of the program is to assess agronomic soil and water practices and piloting of new rice intensification approaches supported by small scale farming tools.
"Under the new method farmers will be employed and become the implementers of the techniques under trial and selected extension agents will closely work with rice farmers and each extension agent will be assigned to 62 rice farmers. Seven hectares will be cultivated using the new techniques," he added.
In his remarks the Project Manager, Bakolori Irrigation Scheme Mallam Muhammad Lawan Maidoki said the scheme is a welcome development especially that it has worked in some African countries.
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