LAGOS – Rice Farmers have assured Nigerians that there are enough freshly produced rice to cater for their demands during this festive season.
Some of the rice Farmers in separate telephone interviews with DAILY INDEPENDENT, which farmers are working so hard to ensure the commodity, is available always to meet the demands of the populace.
Segun Atho, National Deputy President of Rice Farmer Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), said there is Nigerian rice everywhere to meet the needs during this festive season and even beyond.
He said one of the challenges rice Farmers are facing is that a lot of people do not believe that anything good can come out of this country in terms of rice production.
“We have rice everywhere; some of them will see our locally produced rice in the market and think it is not as good as that of foreign. Some of them think that the foreign one is healthier, but that is not true and also there are saboteurs who do not want Nigerian rice farmers to succeed.
Atho said Nigerians are yet to believe that the country can do things on its own.
He said a lot of people in the country still prefer to buy foreign rice to buying the one freshly produced in the country.
He lamented that despite the border closure foreign rice still found its way to the Nigerian markets.
“We have foreign rice everywhere despite the border closure; go to markets across the state. Our people are yet to believe that we can do things on our own so, they decided to continue in their attitude of their passion for foreign rice which is very bad for a nation aspiring to be great.
He said despite all the efforts put in place in branding Nigerian rice in such a way that it would look fascinating, some still believe that it is not good enough for them.
“We have more than enough rice to feed Nigerians during the festive season and even beyond,” she said.
Speaking further Atho said the attitude of some Nigerians does not show readiness to support what the country is doing in terms of being self-sufficient in food production.
He, however, condemned the killing of rice farmers in Borno state, adding that it is a pity that such , but it will not affect availability of rice during the season.
He said though this year has been a tough one for the country, stressing that from the coronavirus to #EndSARS protest to drought and flooding in some parts of the country, rice farmers are still able to manage the situation to ensure that Nigeria is self-sufficient in rice production.
Biodun Onalaja, Chairman of Hyst Global Business Limited, Producer of Okun Rice also said despite the climatic harzard that affect rice production this year, there is still abundant rice production to meet the yuletide celebration.
He said the problem is from the middlemen that hijacked the paddy rice from the farmers that caused the paddy rice to be high in the market.
He said that the price of Nigeria rice is still very high due to the capital invested into rice farming and processing.
Onalaja said that the price can be pushed downward if the government plays an active role in making funds available at a single digit interest rate without stringent policy to access it.
He added that the government must be able to create the market linkage among the farmers, processor and consumer.