The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has promised Nigerians of cheap, affordable and accessible rice in the country by 2017.
The association also revealed that the present hike in the price of the commodity was caused by some selfish individuals to undermine the efforts of the government.
To enhance mass production and selling of rice across the country, the National President, RIFAN, Mr. Aminu Goronyo, confirmed that the association had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some farm input suppliers to ensure prompt supply of cheap fertilisers and pesticides to boost production across the country.
Goronyo, who gave the assurance in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, assured Nigerians of their readiness to make the price of rice affordable and accessible by 2017.
“We are going to assist the FG to produce more than enough rice for this country in 2017. It is part of the plan that we must bring down the price of rice in this country.
“There are several efforts that we are making to see that in no distant time, this price of rice will come down for Nigerians to have access to affordable milled rice,’’ Goronyo stated.
He said some individuals and corporate bodies caused the current scarcity and hike in the price of rice in a bid to sabotage government efforts in agricultural diversification.
He confirmed that the association was also collaborating with both local and foreign companies to assist in the electronic mapping and registration of rice farms across the country. This, he said, would help government to plan for accurate and available lands for rice production in the country.
Goronyo also assured that rice production rate would be doubled in 2017 above the seven million tonnes produced this year.
“We have more than 4.5 million hectares of FADAMA land for rice production and each hectare has the capacity with a very good practice and management to produce five tonnes per hectare minimum.
“So, in one production cycle, we can produce 10 million metric tonnes of paddy rice and our consumption rate in this country is between 6.5 and seven million metric tonnes per annum.
“So if we can produce 10 million metric tonnes in one production cycle and we have three production cycles in a year, it means that we can feed this country and even export this rice that we produce,’’ he said.