Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) has signed pact with the Nasarawa State government to promote climate-smart technologies in rice production and processing as well as strengthening rice cooperatives in the state.
According to a statement issued to Businessday by Moses Nongoatse, communication officer, Sasakawa Africa Association, the agreement also amis to strengthen the state’s extension system through the Nasarawa Agricultural Development Programme (NADP).
The project tagged “Revitalization of rice cooperatives and decarbonization of rice production and processing, is funded by the Japanese Government and being implemented by SAA with the support of the NADP.
“Under the project, the SAA has already commenced the construction of two climate-smart rice storage and processing centres in Obi and Lafia local government areas in the state. The facilities, which are 90 per cent completed, will also cater for the training needs of beneficiaries,” It stated.
Commenting on the partnership, Godwin Atser, Nigeria Country Director, SSA noted the impact of climate change on agriculture, stating that food production is challenged due to the emission of greenhouse gases.
“Our farmers are no longer sure of planting time and harvest time, and new pests and diseases are ravaging, all because of climate change.
“This is why the world is talking about ‘Net Zero’, balancing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted and the amount absorbed. This means we must aim to sequester as much carbon as we emit. Hence the need to decarbonize. So, decarbonization, reducing the carbon we release as a result of our agricultural activities, is the essence of this project. It is a pilot for Nasarawa and we’ll scale it up across the state and then throughout the country.
“The project would empower rice farmers, strengthen cooperatives involved in rice production in the state and pilot technologies to mitigate the impact of climate change in agriculture starting with rice production.
Signing the pact on behalf of the state government, Ibrahim Adamu Abdullahi, Chief Executive Officer of Nasarawa State Investment Development Agency (NASIDA) explained that the delay necessitated by the need to fine-tune the details and ensure that mechanisms for sustainability and smooth take-off were put in place.
Abdullahi, who was represented by his chief of Staff, Mike Imafido, said: “It is clear that SAA commenced with the project because of the confidence they have in our commitment to any programme that will benefit our people. More than 70 per cent of our population is involved in agricultural activities, so this is an important step. NASIDA promotes and attracts investments to the Nasarawa economy and this is one critical investment that we are passionate about because of its transformative benefits to our people.”