Food security: RIFAN assures Nigerians that rice production will increase

RIFAN assures Nigerians that rice production will increase

The Oyo chapter of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has assured Nigerians of their commitment to increasing rice production in order to reduce the commodity’s high cost.

Mr Samuel Akande, Chairman of Oyo RIFAN, gave the assurance yesterday in Ibadan.

Akande stated that the farmers’ goal for years has been to bring high-quality rice to the table on a consistent basis and at a lower price than it is now.

He noted that the association encouraged members to engage in commercial agriculture of the commodity on suitable land in order to accomplish its objectives. “In Oyo State, the problem is not a lack of farmers willing to plant rice, but a lack of enabling facilities.

“We are still waiting to see what the government has in store for us in terms of land, land clearing, and tractors; up until now, it has been entirely up to the farmers here,” he explained.

Akande stated that the RIFAN/CBN/United Bank Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) was the state’s only certain hope for rice farmers.

He stated that the ABP package included all necessary inputs for smallholder farmers, based on the farmer’s assumed capacity. “Rice pyramids are making a comeback across Nigeria. On a more serious note, RIFAN has been selling rice paddy to millers in order to bring the price of rice down.
“Farmers are truly fearful of working at full capacity to produce food on a daily basis because they are being attacked and their rice fields are being grazed unhindered.

“Where land clearing equipment and irrigation systems are available, they are not maintained.

“Another area of difficulty is farmers’ inability to control flood/drought experiences without a well-planned and managed irrigation system, which smallholder farmers cannot implement without government intervention.

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“To increase rice production, what we, the farmers, can do and have been doing is to recruit and train more people to plant rice. With farmers on the ground, any willing government will find it simple to identify and locate the right farmers to support,” he explained.

According to him, RIFAN has received input loans for fertiliser, water pumps, hoses, sprayers, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides.

Akande stated that in order to bring the market price of rice down, governments at all levels must make deliberate efforts in that direction.

“Because farmers can only produce for the market, and because our middlemen buy low and sell high, only the government has the wherewithal to maintain a desirable price level.

“We also encourage Nigerians to embrace the culture of eating locally produced foods in order to ensure the project’s continued existence. We can expect perfection only if we continue for an extended period of time,” he stated.

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