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April 14, 2024

NDDC Partners Rice Farmers to Boost Food Production 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is collaborating with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) to boost rice production and tackle food insecurity in the region.

A statement by the NDDC Director of Corporate Affairs, Pius Ughakpoteni, revealed that the partnership was announced by the commission’s Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, during a strategic meeting with a delegation from the farmers’ association led by its Deputy National President, Mr. Victor Korede, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Represented by the NDDC Executive Director of Projects, Sir Victor Antai, Dr. Ogbuku expressed the commission’s readiness to partner with RIFAN to promote rice cultivation in the Niger Delta.

“With the NDDC’s renewed focus,” he said, “we are ready to partner with RIFAN. We have two rice mills in Elele-Alimi, Rivers State, and Mbiabet-Ikpe in Akwa Ibom State. We’re interested in the smart agriculture approach championed by the farmers’ association.”

“The NDDC Managing Director is committed to delivering legacy projects with a positive and direct impact on the people of the region,” he stated.

The NDDC highlighted a new initiative called “Holistic Opportunities, Projects and Engagement” (HOPE), which prioritizes agriculture in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s [Change the name to the current president] “Renewed Hope Agenda.”

“Project HOPE aims to engage the region’s youth by creating employment opportunities in agriculture,” the statement explained. “We’ve collected data on regional youth, and many are interested in agriculture.  The NDDC is committed to achieving food security in the Niger Delta, and engaging youths in agriculture is crucial to this goal.”

Dr. Ogbuku emphasized the Niger Delta’s suitability for rice cultivation.

“The Niger Delta’s arable wetlands, rainfall patterns, and other favorable ecological factors create a window for planting rice twice per season,” he stated. “Therefore, it’s essential to meaningfully engage rice farmers who have shown a strong desire to increase production.”

“We’re striving to move away from dependence on the oil economy,” he continued. “The agricultural sector has the potential to employ a large number of our youths. We also want to transition from subsistence agriculture to mechanized farming to fully exploit the opportunities the Niger Delta offers.”

During the meeting, RIFAN’s South-South Vice President, Emmanuel Anoh, expressed the association’s commitment to demonstrating the feasibility of sufficient local food production in Nigeria.

“We’re here to discuss partnering with the NDDC to explore how the region can feed Nigeria and contribute to the president’s agenda of food self-sufficiency,” he explained. “Rice is a global staple crop consumed by practically every household at least three times a week.”

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