JAPAN International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has donated 27 rice de-stoning machines and other accessories to rice millers and dealers associations in Nasarawa state to boost quality rice production in the state.
Mr Kodama Hiroshi, Senior Representative of the agency in Nigeria donated the machines and other accessories in Lafia on Friday.
He said that the provision of the machines was part of the agency’s Rice Post-Harvest Processing and Marketing Pilot Project in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 27 powered generating sets were also donated by the agency to power the rice de-stoning machines.
He said the objective of the project was to improve the quality of post-harvest rice, through the introduction of simple technologies to enhance processing activities of small and medium scale millers.
Hiroshi expressed optimism that the gesture would increase the productivity of the rice millers and dealers, transform their businesses and boost the state`s revenue profile.
In his remark, Mr Masaya Otsuka, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, said that the involvement of Japanese government in promoting agriculture in Nigeria was to discourage over-dependence on oil.
Otsuka said that Japan had implemented 154 projects across the country since 1998 to the tune of over eight million US Dollars.
Alhaji Yusuf Lawee, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resources, lauded the agency`s effort at encouraging rice production in the state.
Lawee said the gesture would go a long way in increasing the patronage of locally produced rice in the state, given its quality.
He reiterated the government`s commitment to partnering both local and international organisations, willing to tap into the state`s enormous agricultural potential.
Adamu Ibrahim, Chairman, Millers/Dealers Association, Lafia branch, thanked the agency and expressed optimism that the machine would improve the production of quality rice in the state.