The Executive Director, National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi, Niger state, Dr Aliyu Umar said the institute through researches has released 67 varieties of improved rice seedlings for smallholders and commercial users. He disclosed this during the annual research review meeting held at NCRI headquarters in Badeggi, Katcha local governmt area of the state. Umar added that the Institute has released flood resistant rice varieties (FARO 66 and 67) that can stand 10 days submergence conditions and can thrive under relatively low water stress. “We have also released 15 varieties of soybean, eight varieties of beniseed.
Research effort is underway to release three varieties of castor. “We have fabricated some machines which include planters, threshers, milling machines of different trees as well as simple processing equipment for farmers and other stakeholders,” he stated. Umar said the institute has fabricated machines that are cost effective, time and labour less intensive, whereas value added products and recipes have been developed from the Institute’s mandate cereal crops. “I believe the process of resuscitating agricultural sector in terms of adequate financing, right policies and programmes as well as research and development will revive and exposition the sector on the path of the past glory it was before the oil boom,” he posited.
He maintained that the agricultural sector provides the window to be used as a leverage, for maximum advantage in the search for viable alternatives to the dwindling trend of the revenue base of mono cultural oil dependent countries, especially with manifest volatile price of oil. “The shift from oil and gas to agricultural sector would bring about sustainable growth in Nigeria economy. It would attract foreign direct investment, create jobs for teeming unemployed Nigerians and would harness the potential of the country’s arable land. There is no gain saying the fact that having agriculture as one of the big revenue earners of our economy would be to our immense benefit, ” he noted.
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