Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Agricultural Performance Survey (APS) for 2017 has rated Niger State as the leading producer of paddy rice in the country.
The report was produced by National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in conjunction with Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) and the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension.
It was presented wednesday by Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.
Providing highlights to the 2017 APS,
Prof. Muhammed K. Othman, the Executive Director, NAERLS, noted some constraints to agricultural production in the year included, severe flooding, poor farm input provision, and poor extension support amongst others.
Rice is the commonest food staple consumed in almost all households in the country. Niger produced 545,700 metric tonnes (MT) of rice to top the national production output for the 2017 wet season.
The total land area cultivated by the state for the period was 229,080 hectares. All the 36 states of the federation, including FCT, were assessed in the survey certified by National Technical Committee on Agricultural Statistics.
Kogi State followed with an output of 512,610 MT cultivated on 235,521 hectares.
Benue was in third position with a production volume of 486,620 MT. Its cultivated area was 227,730 hectares.
Kano (418,480 mt), Kebbi (411,490mt), Nasarawa (410,820mt), Kwara (408,250mt) and FCT (408,111mt) were rated 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th respectively.
The ranking also showed that Akwa Ibom with a volume of 19,199 MT was the least rice producing state in 2017, with a little over 10,000 hectares of land cultivated.
Other lesser producers are Delta (44,230mt) in 36th position and Abia (50,312 MT) in 35th place.
According to the APS, the estimated cropped area for rice was 3.90 million hectares, which represented an increase of about 6.9 percent over the 3.17million hectares cultivated in 2016
The survey said a total output of 8.02 million mt was produced in 2017 as against the 6.99 million mt recorded in 2016, showing a significant increase in output of about 14.7 per cent.
It also noted that all states recorded an increase in the production of the crop, with Lagos State having the highest increase of 30.5 per cent. An average yield of 2.4 tonnes per hectares was recorded for the crop in 2017.
It was the first time the APS report will be made public since it started producing the report in the last 29 years.
Lokpobiri said the survey will now be presented yearly to enable Nigeria and global community plan their business, stressing the need for research institutes to publicise and commercialise their research findings.