From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) says it was building two aggregation centres for farmers in Assakio and Agwatashi in Lafia and Obi Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Nasarawa State for processing of rice for consumption and marketing purposes.
The Voice reports that the intervention is being implemented in the state with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
During the media field trip to Assakio, Lafia LGA on Wednesday, the Senior Programme Officer of SAA, Engineer Ade Sugh, revealed that the building of the centres would be fitted with modern rice processing equipment with the capacity of milling over a ton of polished rice daily.
Sugh explained that the facility would also comprised a warehouse for storage of rice for subsequent marketing.
According to him, SAA in partnership with the Nippon Biodiesel Fuel Company, Japan, will install a machine to produce “Momigalite,” a solid fuel made from rice husks to replace firewood in rice parboiling as part of initiatives aimed reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its effect on climate change.
He said that the momigalite would serve as a decarbonisation product to prevent the release of additional carbon dioxide during combustion.
“Momigalite manufacturing machine was developed by Tromso Company based in Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan, to replace wood charcoal, which is currently consumed in large quantities during rice parboiling, with the aim of achieving carbon neutral.
“The rice husk solid fuel produced from the grind mill compresses and heats rice husks to yield solid fuel in the form of sticks and produces a clean burning process than the firewood.
“We are looking at processing a ton of rice per day and this process will not be complicated for the farmers to handle when the facility is handed over to them,” he said.
He, therefore, said that the project would be completed in December, 2023 and be handed over to the farmers.
Speaking in an interview with The Voice, one of the rice farmers in the community, who was sponsored by SAA to Japan to learn modern techniques of farming, Mr Musa Oyeka, said he was trained in March, 2023 along side seven others from Africa on improved farming system.
“We were trained on new farming techniques, especially on how to prepare our land before cultivation and how to apply farm implements for a bumper harvest.
“We have started applying what we learnt in Japan on our farmers here in Assakio community and we are beginning to get good results. Our rice yields is increasing.
“Sasakawa Africa is also building an aggregation centre in Assakio and the work is in progress and when it is completed, the centre will be used for processing, bagging and storage of rice,” he said.
He, therefore, said that the new centre when completed, would provide farmers the opportunity to process clean rice that could be consumed within and outside the state.
On his part, the secretary, Apashi Woza Cooperative Society Assakio, Mr James Abahia, said SAA had trained members of the cooperative society on modern farming methods, starting from soil preparation to cultivation, fertiliser application as well as transplanting of rice, which had yielded great result in their output.
He also said that the group was also trained on farm record keeping for proper documentation, among others.
Also, as part of SAA’s Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) intervention, it trained women on how to grow basic crops with high nutritional values to improve household nutrition.
The Technical Coordinator, NSA, SAA, Mr Yahaya Yahuza, said the organisation had trained women on agriculture production and how to utilise their products.
He, therefore assured that the organisation will continue to do more in order to improve the livelihoods of the people.
Giving her testimony, Chairperson, Anyawoza Multi- Purpose Cooperative Society Limited, Lafia Branch, Mrs Hajaratu Oyeka said SAA had trained members of the area on nutrition and how to engage in small businesses for the benefit of their families.
“They taught us on how to grow our businesses, especially how to keep our customers and how to monitor those businesses. We appreciate SAA for the intervention and we will continue to work with them,” she said.