By Muhammad Nasir Bello
Sokoto – Alhaji Salihu Ibrahim, the Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Sokoto State chapter, has urged Nigerians to utilise the fertile land opportunities in the country to increase production.
Ibrahim, who made this call on Monday in an interview with journalists in Sokoto, noted that suitable fertile land for cultivation of rice should be maximally exploited in the country’s quest for food security.
He lauded the federal government on its current policy drive in Nigeria aimed at encouraging massive rice production as a deliberate effort to meet the demands of the citizens.
“The country’s focus on massive production of rice commodity has become necessary, as it remains the staple that more than 80 per cent of Nigerians consume on a daily basis.
“However, the Anchor Borrower Programme initiative of the federal government, has drastically changed Nigeria’s over dependence on rice importation narrative.
“The programme has created avenue for not only producing in large quantities, but expanding the scope of employment, strengthening production capacity and encouraging .ß sustainability,” he said.
Ibrahim added that the state branch of RIFAN had been able to fashion out a well organised system of disbursement and recovery of loans from beneficiaries.
He said that members needed to deposit 20 per cent of each loan scheme as equity contribution as a basic and necessary requirement to facilitate the process.
Ibrahim disclosed that no fewer than 30,000 farmers, who were on the RIFAN platform, had been listed to benefit from the 2019 wet and dry seasons farming loan plan in the state.
“So far, 6, 000 farmers have accessed loan in its complete package, collected items that included fertiliser, seed, herbicide and pesticide and sprayers among others.
“This is after generating the farmers’ credible and authentic electronic data identification, which also captures the farm land,” he said.
Ibrahim lauded the federal and Sokoto state governments for their active support for the association’s drive to ensure the success of the policy on agriculture, in relation to rice production. (NAN)