Database of rice farmers to be set up

Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

Rice field in Sheda, Abuja

Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN says it is working towards a comprehensive data base of its members.

This was stated in an interactive session with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The National President of RIFAN, Mr. Aminu Goronyo said the rice market was very huge and with the association’s twelve million members, it has the ability to produce rice three times, a year to meet with the market demands.

He said the rice farmers are well aware of government’s efforts towards achieving food sufficiency in the country and the association is also aware that there are some elements in the society that are trying to sabotage the efforts of the government.

The president said RIFAN has gone far in its efforts at getting a data base of farmers through capturing for easy identification, verification and data collation.

“We have engaged some consultants that will help us to map out our farms to capture the data of our farms to register the farmers that we have so that clearly the ministry will be able to lay its hands on a correct, certified and verifiable for rice production in the country. 

 We already have a kind of collaboration between the ministry and RIFAN where we give information about rice and rice production, every almost week, so we want that situation to continue; we want to be able to furnish the Minister weekly or monthly.”

The Minister Mr. Audu Ogbeh assured the association of the government’s support.

He said the ministry had acquired about one hundred units of Nigeria-made threshers and seventy-five rippers to be distributed to the rice farmers soon.

“These machines are going to come in large numbers until we have enough to cover the farms, each year. Now I assure you we will do maybe not less than a thousand threshers to distribute.

Another good news is for rice processing we have one hundred and ten rice mills of different sizes across the country. So, since you have your association and you are working in clusters, we have to sit with you again the officials because it is government money; the NIRSAL and the CBN will help. If we give you a ten-ton a day rice mill, as a clusters ,we will ask you pay 25% down. NIRSAL and CBN will advance you the money to pay and you will have three to five years to pay the balance and we will still give you 25% discount,” he said.

The Minister added that “you will begin to mill your rice with de-stoners and eventually we hope to bring in colour separators; any black spot on the rice will be removed and then we will have quality rice to eat; whether it’s from the big millers or small millers, the quality will be the same.”

There are also plans to organize Farmer’s Day in Nigeria.