The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is collaborating with the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi, to train 100 women from five states on rice processing and packaging.
Mrs Ibukun Abimbola, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, stated this on Tuesday in Minna at the inauguration of a five-day training workshop at NCRI.
She said the training was to ensure self-sufficiency in rice production in the country by 2015.
Abimbola, who was represented by Mrs Karim Babangida, a deputy director the ministry, said the measure would go a long way in tackling unemployment, and boost wealth creation among youths and women.
“This training is particularly important because it is in line with the administration’s effort at addressing the problem of unemployment in the country.
“Under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, the issues of unemployment, wealth creation and food security are being addressed particularly as they relate to youth and women empowerment,’’ she said.
Abimbola said the training would enhance quick understanding and retention of key production concepts, and facilitate the establishment of private rice processing enterprises in the trainees’ localities.
She said at the end of the training, 20 women cooperatives each from Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Borno and Zamfara states would be supported with grants to establish rice processing and packaging industries.
She said the grants would include rice milling machines, rice pre-cleaners, rapid steam par boilers, destoners, probe moisture metres and bag sewing machines.
She said others items include collapsible raised wooden platform and weighing scales, adding that they would promote technology adaptation and economic engagement in rice processing and packaging.
Abimbola said the training would be replicated in other zones of the country to draw participants from the 36 states and Abuja.
Earlier, Dr Lawrence Olunremi, Director, Outreach Department, NCRI, said 80 per cent of locally produced paddy was milled by small-holder mills hence the intervention to ensure that they compared favourably with imported brands.
Also speaking, Hajiya Ladi Balade, rice farmer and participant from Zamfara, commended the Federal Government for the gesture.
“This is the first time government is training us directly and providing us with necessary inputs.