The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) says the Nigerian rice is gradually capturing African markets, just as Nigeria is fast becoming Africa’s rice production hub.
Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, the National President of RIFAN, said in Abuja on Thursday that the feat was as a result of the Federal Government’s innovative policy on rice production.
He noted that the quantity and quality of Nigerian rice had increased significantly in recent times, adding that various international groups had attested to the achievement.
Goroyo said that many entrepreneurs and some African countries, which had recognised the efforts of RIFAN to champion rice development initiatives in Nigeria and Africa at large, were now willing to be part of the rice revolution.
He added that some international agencies were also linking those countries that were interested in rice development initiatives with RIFAN.
He stressed that the Nigerian rice revolution had improved the Nigerian brand of rice, while creating more avenues for the engagement of youths in sustainable rice farming development strategies.
Goroyo said that Nigeria, as the largest producer of rice in West Africa and third largest in Africa, was attaining the benchmark of producing the quantity of rice needed to sustain its population and for export.
He said that Nigeria had a huge potential of producing rice in commercial quantities to meet the growing demand of the citizens, adding, however, that the feat could be attributed to the Federal Government’s support for rice farmers and collaborations with other agencies.
Goroyo said that the various interventions of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had led to remarkable improvements in rice production, while facilitating the operations of RIFAN.
He noted that the Buhari-administration kick-started the rice revolution with the launch of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) on Nov. 17, 2015, adding that the programme had saved for the country over N220 billion via the ban placed on rice importation.
Goronyo said that available statistics indicated that the rice consumption in Nigeria now had increased from 7.9 million tonnes to over 8.1 million tonnes, while rice production had increased from 5.8 million tonnes to 7 million tonnes per annum.
The RIFAN president said that the rice revolution was achieved through the government’s determination to outlaw rice importation into the country, adding that Nigerians and agencies like the Nigerian Custom Services should also be commended for ensuring the fulfilment of the policy.
“RIFAN is not only a part of FG’s efforts to enforce the ban but it is also driving other advocacy groups in the campaign towards the attainment of self-sufficiency in rice production in the country.
“RIFAN is so happy that the country is set to achieve its targets in rice production under the ABP because government officials and banks are not identifying with politicians who claim to be farmers,’’ he said.
Goronyo commended the Buhari-administration for dealing directly with RIFAN, adding that in the past, the government politicised its agricultural programmes by choosing to deal with “political farmers’’ who had no farmlands.
“It has become so easy now for our members to access government loans, fertilisers and other farm inputs,’’ he added.
He said that the Nigerian rice revolution was now extending to other African countries, while the Federal Government was determined to sustain the ongoing process and encourage young Nigerians to engage in rice production.
Goronyo said that a recent research on African rice markets revealed that all the rice varieties that were needed in the African markets were grown in Nigeria.
He said that major rice producing states like Katsina, Niger, Anambra, Kebbi, Cross River, Benue, Ebonyi, Jigawa and Sokoto, Plateau, Kaduna and Zamfara were now set with their acquisition of adequate rice processing equipment to boost local rice production and ward off rice imports.
The RIFAN president called on the youth and other interested citizens to participate in rice production, saying that rice farmers were now provided with the necessary funding, inputs, mechanisation and expertise.
He said that the ABP had created laudable linkages between companies, agencies, research institutions and international bodies which were involved in rice processing.
Source: Daily Independent: https://independent.ng/nigerian-rice-penetrates-captures-africas-markets-rifan/