By Tahav Agerzua, reporting from China
The prospects of increased farm yield arising from improved seedlings that would boost agriculture production in Benue State excited Governor Samuel Ortom when he visited the demonstration farm of the Yuan’s Seed Company in Changsha, Hunan Province in China.
When the Vice General Manager of the company, Mr Yao Zhenqiu, explained that with the hybrid rice they harvest as much as 15 tons or 150 bags per hectare in China and 13 tons or 130 bags in other countries including Nigeria, Governor Ortom could not hide his excitement.
He requested a detailed proposal from the company on how they could partner with his state to make a difference in the entire agricultural value chain particularly in the provision of improved quality rice seedlings, machinery, training and processing for Benue farmers.
Governor Ortom said the current situation in Benue State was that farmers got just two tons or twenty bags per hectare adding that if their yield could increase to even half of what was harvested from the improved seeds in the other places it would make an enormous difference to them.
Mr Zhenqiu stated that the Company was already involved in massive rice production in Kano and Jigawa States in Nigeria as well as several other African countries including Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique.
He said his company also has other improved seeds including those of water melon, corn, pepper, tomato, soyabeans, and benniseed.
At the demonstration farm Governor Ortom was informed that the hybrid rice specie had male and female plants whose planted seeds take between 120-130 days to be harvested after which they sprout again and mature again for harvest in another sixty days.
State commissioner of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Tersoo Kpelai, Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Mr Tahav Agerzua, Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, Mr Abrahams Kwaghngu, as well as officials of Blue Diamond Logistics Worldwide, Mr Festus Mbisiogu, accompanied the Governor.