The Niger State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Friday said it produced over a million tonnes of rice yearly and was targeting 40 per cent increase production by 2017‎.

The permanent secretary in the ministry, Alh Muhammdu Ibrahim, made the disclosure at a news briefing to mark the 2015 World Food Day in Minna.

According to him, the state government is targeting 40 per cent increase in rice production by 2017‎

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“The state produces over 1 million metric tonnes of rice per annum and the target is to increase rice production by 40 per cent by 2017,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by Alhaji Baba Kutigi, called on farmers to embrace all-year-round farming for food security.

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“Farming in Niger has for many years been predominantly subsistence, rain-fed and poorly mechanised. There is virtual absence of all year round farming.

“Our people are used to rain-fed farming and use the dry season as a resting period, not knowing that dry season farming is less expensive and more profitable,”‎ he said.

Ibrahim said that the state government had so far distributed 20, 000 metric tonnes of fertilisers to farmers at 50 per cent subsidy.

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He explained that the‎ agricultural sector would continue to be accorded priority by the state government.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Food Day is observed annually every Oct. 16 to create awareness on the causes of world hunger and solutions to them.