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Again, FG, Rice farmers assure bag of rice’ll sell at N10, 000 come June 2017

Barely less than one month after the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has disclosed while in a Town Hall meeting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital that Nigeria will before the end of the year become highest exporter of rice, rice farmers under the auspices of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), has toed same line, assuring that in June 2017, a 50 kilogramme of rice bag will sell at N10, 000 in the open market.

National President of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, gave the assurance on grounds of the direct access to fertilizers to rice farmers under the association.

Goronyo averred that “Fertiliser was a very big challenge, but today it has become a history. We have signed MoU where the fertiliser is sold N5, 500 per bag of fertiliser, and is now a government policy. We have more fertiliser in the country and go direct to the hands of the farmers and is everywhere in the country”.

“We have already achieved rice sufficiency in the last two years because all the rice we eat is grown here in the country. With the government through the Nigeria Customs Service on the land borders, including the high exchange rate no importer can go to other countries and import rice for profit. I assure you in the next three months a 50kg bag of rice will come down to N10, 000.

“The Anchor Borrowers Scheme was conceived through collective effort by the Central Bank of Nigeria, RIFAN and other relevant key stakeholders, and we are everyday meeting with the CBN reviewing the process.”

But the only obstacle capable of frustrating the assurance according to him, could be inadequate rice seeds for the over 4.2 million registered members.

He recalled that why rice has not been able to saturate Nigerian markets in the last three decades is because past governments, have failed to provide certified and quality seeds.

RIFAN boss said “Seed is the most essential component of any commodity that is going to be produced. We do not have rice seeds in Nigeria. The few companies we have in the country do not have the capacity to supply the quality and certified seeds we need. What we have is grossly inadequate and not up to one percent of the need by Nigerian farmers.

“I blame the previous governments because for the 30 years we don’t have enough certified seeds. The government has played vital role in creating this problem for the farmers.

“The research centres are there and they are being paid but they are not doing what they are supposed to because government rely on them to come up with certified seeds, and we the end users, the farmers, we know that we are not getting then real certified seed.

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