From ISRAEL LAR, Abuja

Plateau State government has been urged to encourage farmers to begin massive cultivation of the Jute Plant referred to as “Rama” in Hausa language.

This is to enable the farmers benefit from the rising cost of the plant used in the cultivation of Jute Bags which has been accredited as the singular medium for exportation of tea and coffee to foreign countries.

Managing Director of Nigeria Initiative- Base Risk System for Agricultural Lending Dr. Aliyu Abdulhamid gave the advice at a round table session with Governor Simon Lalong at the firm’s Headquarters in Abuja last Thursday.

SUNDAY STANDARD reports that Nigeria Initiative – Base Risk System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL, was established by the Central Bank of Nigeria four years ago to provide guarantee for viable agricultural business ideas and has within the period approved loans totaling one hundred and one billion naira.

Governor Simon Lalong met with the management to seek areas of collaboration in the production of crops such as coffee, tea, potato and well as as ranching and fish farming.

The Managing Director Doctor Aliyu Abdulhamid said with the state’s capacity for coffee and tea farming, the Governor should encourage the cultivation of Jute plant to enhance value chain in production of the crops.

Dr. Abdulhamid explained that the potential was huge because of the capacity of NASCO Group of Companies Jos in the production of Jute Bags which will be the sole medium for exporting tea and coffee by next year.

Abdulhamid said NIRSAL is willing to create model ranches for live stock production in the state, and that plans have reached an advance stage for the take off of a model potato value chain farm in Jos as part of a larger initiative to save more than three hundred million dollars spent on importation of potato chips in Nigeria.

Responding, Governor Simon Lalong said the state Government repurchased BARC Farms in Jos which would be used for the model value chain farms.

Our Correspondent reports that the Plateau State Government is to fill an expression of interest form for the model farms, while NIRSAL would organise a two-day workshop for members of the state executive council before the beginning of the project.

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