BusinessDay

Rice farmers call for creation of cottage industries

Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has called for the establishment of cottage industries to boost local rice production in the country.

RIFAN national deputy president, Segun Atho, said this in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.

According to him, access to funds has been an issue for farmers but having cottage industries everywhere will boost the production of local rice.

“If local rice farmers can be assisted with milling machines to aid rice production, it will go a long way to improve their output.

“We do not have to wait for gigantic rice mills before we increase rice production locally. The cottage industries will create jobs and wealth for Nigerian farmers if put in place.

“The cottage industries will go a long way to help the rice industry if the government champions it with funds as China, India and other Asian countries are doing,” he said.

Atho said that most Nigerians ate rice more than other foodstuffs; adding that since rice had become the major staple food, the government must ensure that necessary things were put in place to enhance its production locally.

“Access to funds is a bane to farmers, if they can make funds available to farmers apart from the usual provision of farm inputs, it will help a lot,” the RIFAN boss said.

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Atho said that the association was optimistic that the opening of the Lagos Rice mill this year would boost local rice production.

He advised the government to provide mini-planters to enhance local rice production and availability.

“Government can help us in the procurement of mini planters, for the low and upland. Then, we will be able to produce enough rice for the entire country.

“We have the land; the right topography, climate, and the good soil that can help produce local rice without dependence on foreign rice.

“We are optimistic that the Lagos State Rice mill that has been in the works will start operations this year. We are hopeful about it.

“We know that the Commissioner for Agriculture and the Lagos State Governor are not relenting in their efforts to make the rice mill a reality.

“We know that this year, rice farmers will smile, we are hopeful,” Atho said.

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