Abuja, Nov. 28, 2023: The Federal Government partnered Green Agriculture West Africa (GAWAL), a subsidiary of the Chinese General Construction Company (CGC), to train 5,000 women nationwide on modern rice farming technology.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, said this at the graduation ceremony of the first phase of the Rice Cultivation Technology Training Programme on Monday in Abuja.
Kennedy-Ohanenye said the programme would reduce poverty, improve food sufficiency and economic empowerment at the grassroots.
She said that the ministry would use the bottom-top approach in its poverty intervention efforts to reach the targets.
She added that “the Chinese company is giving our women high yield rice variety; they are going straight to the farmlands with it for planting.
“These women are totally prepared alongside the pumping machine that we are giving them from the ministry so that they can water their farms.
“This will also help them to plant this rice variety four times in a year, this will help us cultivate enough food for Nigerians.
“Every stage of this project will be recorded because Nigerians have the right to know what goes on in the country.
“And if we don’t carry them along, how will they know that there is hope and that the renewed hope is coming. We will show Nigerians a stage by stage progress of the project.
“We are going across the whole nation and the women are going into various economic activities. When women and children are busy making money, when will they get time to get into unproductive venture?,” she asked.
The minister said “70 per cent of the criminals and insecurity challenges we have are due to poverty, as a push factor because of idleness but this project will create jobs for people to do and they will make their own money.”
She announced that the ministry has a portal for the programme, where sellers, farmers and manufactures are readily available, with others in the marketing chain, including bankers.
“So, it will be a communal thing. We are trying to get Nigeria to be a community where all of us are one with a united purpose,” she said.
She explained that government would bring innovation in the area of animal farming, specifically cow rearing under the programme.
Mr Wang Xiemin, the Managing Director of Green Agriculture West Africa Limited (GAWAL), encouraged beneficiaries of the training to utilise skills acquired and teach others in their communities to promote activities of women farmers.
He said “as you leave this training programme armed with knowledge and renewed sense of purpose, remember that the future of agriculture is in your hands.
“Your commitment to innovation, resilience in the face of challenges and dedication to sustainable practices will shape the landscape of agriculture for generations to come.”
Mrs Fatima Abubakar-Kure, a beneficiary from Niger, said the training would enable her to acquire skills on the use of modern farm equipment, different pesticides and fertilizers.
“This will enable us teach other women the different kinds of equipment, pesticides and fertilizers to be used for different crops and farming, how and at what stage it should be applied.”
The training also focused on land preparation to seed breeding, fertilizer application and various agriculture chains, among others.