Nasarawa: Sasakawa Introduces Rice Farmers To Harvest Technologies

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Mohammed Shosanya

Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA),an international NGO,has introduced rice farmers in Nasarawa State to cost- effective harvest technologies to reduce post-harvest losses.

Dr.Godwin Atser, Country Director of SAA, stated this at the “Brown” field day organised at weekend for farmers in Lafia, and Doma Local Government Areas of state.

He explained that the training of the farmers on the mechanised harvest system is part of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Policy and Human Resource Development Grant (PHRDG 1) being implemented by SAA in Nigeria and Benin Republic.

The country director,who was represented by the Mr Idris Garko, Coordinator of the PHRDG 1 in the state, said that having trained the farmers to improve their rice yield using technology and best agronomic practices, it became imperative to introduce them to mechanised harvest method that would help to reduce post-harvest losses.

According to him, studies have shown that rice farmers in Nigeria incur between 10 per cent to 35 per cent post-harvest losses using the traditional method of harvesting.

He, however, explained that with the use of simple machines like motorised reaper and thresher, such losses would be drastically reduced.

He added that the technologies would save the farmers cost in terms of labour and time, and ensure they got quality rice grains from farms for marketing.

He noted that although the machines are expensive and not readily available, SSA had identified indigenous innovative fabricators that could produce effective local versions of the imported machines and link up farmers to them.

“As part of this project, we recently brought these fabricators together in Lafia to interface and see how they could produce these machines and the outcomes of that engagement was quite impressive.

“We also link up the fabricators to dealers in spare parts for the machines to ensure easy assess,” he said.

He said that the farmer were encouraged to form cooperatives where they could pull resources together to acquire the machines since they might be too expensive to acquire individually.

“As a group, the machines would also become a source of income for them. Apart from using it in their farms, they could generate revenue from it by using it for other farmers outside the group and be paid,” he said.

He further explained that the technical team of SAA would be on ground within the next two years to guide the farmers on the operations and routine maintenance of the machines.

Some of the farmers,commended SSA for the intervention and expressed commitment towards acquiring the machines.

Mr Yusuf Kuje, a rice farmer in Alagye in Doma, said that the effectiveness of the machines in harvesting and threshing was unbelievable.

“You can see that a plot of rice farm that could take 10 persons almost an hour to harvest using the manual traditional method was done in just about 10 minutes with the use of the motorised reaper machine.

“The thresher is another interesting machine that saves more time and energy that would have been dissipated in beating the rice. It threshes the dried rice and the grain come out very clean.

“I will work closely with other farmers in my community to leverage the opportunity provided by Sasakawa to link us with the fabricators in order to get our own machines, ” he added.

Besides,Mr Abdullah Otsonu, a rice farmer in Assakio, Lafia, said that given the effectiveness of the machines, rice production would become more exciting and interesting to the teeming youths in the community.

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