News Investigators/ The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Oyo State has appealed to the state and local governments to assist with land to enable them improve on rice production in 2021.
The RIFAN Chairman in Oyo state, Samuel Akinade, made the appeal while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Ibadan.
Mr. Akinade, a pastor, said that the Federal Government was currently operating an Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) for rice but that farmers, especially those in the South-West, still found it very difficult to acquire land for cultivation.
According to him, the ABP does not cover land clearing which the farmers highly needed.
“This is where we would expect the state and local governments to arise to the needs of our members in Oyo state.
“We hope to continue interacting with them to join the Federal Government to lift Oyo State together in rice production,” he said.
Mr. Akinade noted that in 2020, the farmers had the challenge of drought in the midst of wet season, cow grazing on farms, COVID-19, among others.
According to him, contributions of the state and local governments in land clearing can be in form of loans to be repaid over a period of time.
“This repayment plan must be discussed with the proper farmers representatives for mutual consent,” he told NAN.
He noted that the association’s goal was to produce more than sufficient rice to feed the country and export at a standard quality and a highly competitive price.
He added that new jobs would be generated without causing someone to lose a job.
“To achieve the goals, we have farmers on ground and many more will still emerge.
“We request the second and the third tiers of government as well as our community leaders to come to the aid of our members in RIFAN.
“The unemployed youths are important to this vision if we can encourage them.
“To improve on the current level of rice production, cattle grazing should be far away from rice farms, farmers are being discouraged, on daily basis, from going to their farms.
“The government should continue to make the security of farmers’ lives and property a serious business,” he said.