Lagos, Sept. 1, 2023: The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Lagos State Chapter, has appealed to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubarka Kyari, to pay more attention to increasing rice production.
Mr Raphael Hunsa, RIFAN’s Chairman in Lagos State said on Thursday in Lagos that the level of rice production was low in the country.
He added that was due to shortage of farmers in the rice value chain..
He said that presently, demand for locally produced rice was higher than the supply which had resulted into hike in price of the commodity.
According to him, there’s urgent need for the new minister and state governments to encourage more farmers into the sector to increase our production level.
Hunsa said that for the county to be self-sufficient in rice, there was need for government to pay more attention to it and make it attractive to the youths.
According to him, local rice is expensive now in the market because the demand is more than the supply.
“Local rice is expensive because we dont have enough farmers in the value chain. Rice farmers are not many, let us encourage more youths to come into farming.
“The only way government can do that is by empowering rice farmers with all the implements that they will need.
“We still need more people to come into farming, with the few people that are into farming, rice will not be sufficient in the market because we are not many.
“More also, government should focuse attention on rice issue seriously.
“Right now, the demand is more than production,” he said.
Hunsa, however, urged the minister to provide farm implements like tractors, harvesters, planter, thresher, fertiliser chemical and weeder as well as viable seeds to support farmers.
He noted that if government can support farmers with all the listed implements, it would boost production and ensure continuity.
He urged the minister to facilitate and monitor the distribution of at least one tractor each to every rice farmers association in every state.
“We want the new minister to provide agricultural machineries like tractors, harvesters, planters, fertilisers and improve seedlings to support farmers.
“Government should also monitor the distribution to ensure it is going to the real farmers and not political farmers.
“The machineries should not be distributed through the state government but through various commodity associations so that they will have access to it.
“Whatever the government want to give us, it should be given at the appropriate time so as that it will have impact on the farming season.
Hunsa also appealed to the minister to stop importation and smuggling of rice through various land borders to encourage more locally produced ones.
“We have rice farmers in all state of the federation, the minister should focuse his attention on production level of rice in every states.
“Let everybody come back to farming, after all, we are now into mechanisation, no more hoes and cutlasses, that will encourage more people into the sector.
“If we have more farmers in the rice value chain, we will increase production and be self sufficient.
“You stop importation of rice and people are still smuggling it into the country. If importation of rice is still ongoing, there’s no way local rice will be cheaper,” he stressed.