THE Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has assured the federal government that it output in one farming circle is enough to feed the country and more for the entire Sub Sahara Africa.
Speaking during a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, the national president of the association, Aminu Goronyi, who led a delegation of the executives, said the association was ready to produce rice that could satisfy national demand and exported to sub Sahara Africa.
“We want to request for a formal and official collaboration with the ministry. We understand the effort of the federal government to feed Nigeria with locally produce rice. With the data we have as an association, and who we are doing, we can feed this country within one production circle. That is within four months. Everyday we find in the papers and radio, that there is scarcity of rice in Nigeria, that we can’t feed ourselves except we import rice.
“They feed us with so many fake information while we know that the rice we are producing is more than enough to feed this country. Only that there are some people who want to sabotage the government and those making effort to produce enough food,” said.
He said the association has engaged consultants to put gather the data of rice farmers to enable the government know the true state of rice production in the country.
“For your information, we have engaged some consultants that will help us map out our farms, gather the data, identify the rice farmers so that the government can lay it’s hand on correct, certified and verifiable data of rice farmers. And we have sensitised our farmers across the country cooperate with the process. This will be able to give the government correct information on rice production in Nigeria, and at every point in time, we will be able to furnish the ministry with appropriate information on happenings in the rice value chains,” he explained.
The rice Association further stated that it has engaged the service of a consultant on small and medium scale rice mills, “who will work with our rice processing unit and come out with a format that would be able to establish clusters of small and medium scale rice mills in each of the senatorial zones of this country. And a cluster should not have less than 10 rice processing machines that can produce at least two tons per hour, so that the so called integrated rice millers that are circumventing the effort of processing enough rice will be silenced,” he said.
With this we will be able to produce enough rice locally for our consumption and export,” he said.
Responding, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Chief Audu Ogbeh commended the efforts of the farmers saying the country has begin to feel the impact of the farmers.
He said the government has imported about 100 units of thresher and 75 units of repeaters to be distributed to the farmers but that it can not be distributed now because there is need to settle the budget concerns, saying since then government don’t have money for giant combine harvesters, the farmers will be given thrashers.
“We are also thinking that some manufacturers in Nigeria can develop some machines that can be made available to farmers. Our target is that each year we provide 1000 thrashers.”
He also revealed that the government has imported 110 small and medium size rice mills, promising that the farmers in clusters will be given 10 tons a day capacity mill, but that farmers will be required to pay 25% of the cost first assuring them that the CBN and NILSAR will advanced the farmers the money to pay while the balance will be paid within the period of five years.
According to him, some of these will be setup in the boarder towns to address the need of those in the region. We will advertise for the 50kg capacity so that the big player that bid but, the 20 tons capacity will be distributed among the rice farmers association.