Yenagoa – The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Bayelsa Chapter, said it had registered 3,885 rural-based farmers’ cooperatives in the state in order to boost rice production.
Mr Ezekiel Ogbianko, the state’s RIFAN Chairman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Yenagoa that the famers were working hard to go into mechanised rice farming.
According to Ogbianko, members of the cooperatives were rural-based farmers selected from the eight local government areas of the state.
“We are planning to organise a seminar for the farmers; the seminar will enable us to enlighten them on the necessary things on agribusiness and need for efficient food production.
“We have secured land, right now, we are working on a 100-hectare and cultivation has started.
“We have acquired 11, 000 hectares; 5,000 hectares at Okogbe, Ogbia Local Government Area and 6,000 hectares at Nembe, and have commenced clearing.
“There are challenges, especially clearing the virgin bushes before cultivation; it is very difficult due to the bad road which makes it difficult for tractors to reach the site.”
Ogbianko said that the association has received inputs, including subsidised fertilizer, adding that it would reach the real farmers.
He also appealed for more access to credit facilities for small scale farmers.