By G9ija

The National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI) has released 67 varieties of rice for smallholders and commercial users, its Executive Director, Dr. Aliyu Umar said.

Speaking at the annual research review meeting held at NCRI Badeggi in Niger State, he also said the Institute has released flood resistant rice varieties (FARO 66 and 67) that can stand 10 days submergence conditions and  thrive under relatively low water stress.

We have also released 15 varieties of Soybean, eight varieties of Beniseed. Research effort is underway to release three varieties of castor,” he said.

Umar said the Institute has also fabricated machines that are cost-effective, time and labour saving while a lot of value added products and recipes have been developed from the Institute’s mandate crops.

We have fabricated some machines which include planters, threshers, milling machines of different trees as well as simple processing equipment for farmers and other stakeholders,” he said.

The Director urged the federal and state governments to approach economy diversification through agriculture frontally and give it the serious touches it deserves.

I believe the process of resuscitating agricultural sector in terms of adequate financing, right policies and programs as well as research and development will revive and exposition the sector on the path of the past glory it was before the oil boom,“ he said.

The Director further maintained that the agricultural sector is a leverage to be used for maximum advantage in the search for viable alternatives to the dwindling trend of the revenue base of oil-depended countries as a result of a manifest volatile price of oil.

The shift from oil and gas to agricultural sector would bring about sustainable growth in Nigeria economy, would attract foreign direct investment, create jobs for teeming unemployed Nigerians and would harness the potential of the country arable land.

There is no gain saying the fact that having agriculture as one of the big revenue earners of our economy would be to our immense benefit,” he said

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