The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has promised to send no fewer than 50 threshers to Kebbi dry season farmers, to help them during this harvesting season, to take off the drudgery associated with post-harvest operations on the farms.
The minister made this promise when the Deputy Governor of Kebbi State, Col. Samaila Yombe Dabai (rtd), paid him a courtesy call in his office in Abuja.
The visit came on the heels of the assessment visit on Anchor Borrowers’ support programme for Kebbi farmers, which began towards the end of 2015. The farmers, mostly rice and wheat farmers, ordinarily use drums and hands to thresh their harvests, mostly on the floor or open ground, leading to contamination with stones.
By the minister’s gestures, the problems associated with manual threshing will be eliminated and the quality of produce enhanced. The Minister noted that Kebbi farmers may need something between 400 to 500 threshers. “We are designing them specially,” he disclosed, expressing gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the support leading to what he described as a “loud testimony of things that can be achieved.”
Speaking to the visiting Deputy Governor, Chief Ogbeh expressed optimism that “by the time you utilise most of your dams,” a lot more will be realised from the harvests from Kebbi State. The minister suggested that the chaffs from wheat and rice after harvest should henceforth be chopped with machines and mixed with molasses from sugar mills and used for cattle, sheep and goat feeding during the dry season of the year. According to him, through this, “a lot of conflicts will be reduced.”
Kebbi State’s Deputy Governor, in his response, observed that “the visit galvanises us to the fact that we are about to do something.” He seized the opportunity to thank the ministry of agriculture, but complained of annual invasion of Quelea birds on their rice farms, particularly during the rainy season, seeking support to overcome the menace. Chief Ogbeh, in response, promised to embark on a cross-border cooperation with the northern neighbouring countries, particularly Niger, to put the situation under control.
The minister disclosed that, as part of the efforts to combat desertification, economic trees, such as Neem, Acacia and Eucalyptus, will be planted. He said the Neem will be used for producing organic pesticides to be sprayed on farms, while the cake by-products will be fed to animals. The Eucalyptus, in turn, will be used for producing healthcare products.
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