The Port Harcourt Glorious Harvesters Cooperative Society has appealed to the Rivers Government to provide facilities to farmers to boost rice production in the state.
The President of the cooperative, Mr Amos Ogbu, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
He appealed to the Rivers Government to fix the millers and provide harvesters, plough, and other facilities to assist rice farmers in the state to produce more.
The president said that the rice milling machines installed by the Dr Peter Odili-led administration had become nonfunctional due to their non-usage for a very long time.
Ogbu told NAN that the present situation compelled the group to transport the tonnes of rice it produced during the 2016 farming season to Ebonyi, for milling.
According to him, the cooperative spent over N500,000 transporting the rice to Ebonyi and this reduced their profit.
‘’We paid N30,000 for the milling of a tonne of rice and spent N5,000 to parboil 50kilogrammes of it. When you add all these to the cost of transport, the expenses become very high,” he said.
Ogbu said that the cooperative had planned to sell a 50 kg of rice for N20,000, but later realised the amount would not cover the cost of production.
He said that the incurred expenses would have been avoided if the mills in the state were in good condition.
Ogbu, however, said that the group was not discouraged by the challenges it faced and disclosed that it had already bought rice seeds for the 2017 planting season.