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‘Price stability will boost farmers’ productivity’

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Pa Samuel Akinade is the chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Oyo State chapter. He spoke with FEMI IBIROGBA on the readiness of farmers to rev up production despite challenging factors of production, calling on each state government to develop irrigation facilities for dry season farmers.

Are Nigerian rice farmers capable of feeding the country with local rice?
Definitely, Nigerian farmers are ready to farm and feed the nation. We are available and the Federal Government is supporting us.

Did you mean that Oyo State farmers have received support from the Federal or state government?
We have received and we are still receiving support.

Which type of support?
We have got inputs from the Anchor Borrower’s scheme handled by the Federal Government. We got inputs last year, not cash. And this year, we are compiling the list of farmers for the dry season farming of rice now. In the next two weeks, it will close.

Did you say farmers are capable of producing enough rice in Nigeria despite the challenges?
Yes. We are capable of.

Do you process your paddies or sell to processors?
Most of us sell to processors because we do not have processing machines.

Now, are their resources for dry season farming, such as adequate water for irrigation?
You see, this border closure will encourage the farmers. Farmers have been bearing the brunt of the economic instability in Nigeria. Now, if the borders remain closed, farmers will be encouraged to cultivate more crops. More farmers have been coming to register for dry season rice farming now.

How much do you sell a kilogramme of paddies to processors now?
A kilogramme of paddies is about N100 now. It is not a good price for farmers, but we are forced to sell at that price.

How much will be profitable for farmers to sell a kilogramme?
For now, because of the increasing cost of inputs, about N150 per kilogramme of paddies will be profitable to farmers.

Harvest time is around the corner. Do you think the price of paddies will reduce?
If it reduces, farmers will run away again. It is better the price remains stable for farmers to remain on the farm. A minimum of N100 is stable and could encourage the farmers.

Do you support the idea that each state government should develop irrigation facilities? Will that encourage more production?
That is the major problem we are facing as farmers now. Farmers have been sourcing land, doing clearing, and many of the times, ploughing and harrowing are not possible because land is not flat or properly clear. If the state government comes in, it can help us to have clusters of farmers where tractor services can be used. That will be an encouragement for us.


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