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NDDC partners with rice farmers association to boost food security

Collaborative Effort Aims to Enhance Rice Cultivation in the Region and Tackle Food Insecurity

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In a proactive move to bolster food security, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has forged a partnership with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN).

The announcement came through a statement by Pius Ughakpoteni, the NDDC’s Director of Corporate Affairs, following a strategic meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. At the meeting, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, the commission’s managing director, highlighted the imperative of collaborating with RIFAN to advance rice cultivation in the region.

Represented by Sir Victor Antai, the NDDC Executive Director of Projects, Ogbuku expressed the commission’s readiness to join forces with RIFAN, emphasizing their interest in the farmers’ association’s smart agriculture approach.

Ogbuku remarked, “With the new drive in NDDC, we are ready to go into partnership with RIFAN. We have two rice mills in Elele-Alimi, Rivers State, and Mbiabet-Ikpe in Akwa Ibom State. We are interested in the smart agriculture approach of the farmers’ association. The NDDC Managing Director is determined to execute legacy projects that will impact positively and directly on the people of the region.”

The NDDC introduced a pivotal program dubbed ‘Holistic Opportunities, Projects, and Engagement’ (Project HOPE), with agriculture as a focal point, aligning with President Bola Tinubu’s ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’.

Ughakpoteni elaborated, “The ‘Project HOPE’ initiative seeks to engage youths in the region by creating employment opportunities for them. We have collated the data of the youths in the region, and so many of them are interested in agriculture. The NDDC is resolute in its quest to provide food security in the Niger Delta region, and we need to engage the youths in agriculture to achieve this goal.”

Highlighting the agricultural potential of the Niger Delta, Ogbuku emphasized the conducive conditions for rice cultivation, advocating for meaningful engagement with rice farmers to leverage the region’s advantages.

“The Niger Delta region, due to the arable wetlands, rainfalls, and other ecological factors in its favour, provides the window to plant rice at least twice within a farming season. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to engage the rice farmers meaningfully, as they have shown a strong desire to grow more rice,” he stated.

Emmanuel Anoh, RIFAN’s South-South Vice President, underscored the association’s commitment to showcasing the viability of local food production. Anoh articulated, “We are here to discuss partnership with the NDDC on how best the region can feed Nigeria and contribute to the President’s agenda of self-sufficiency in food production. Rice is a global staple crop eaten by every home at least three times a week.”

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