The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Bida on Wednesday expressed determination to partner with the CBN to reduce the price of rice in the country.
Malam Idris Usman, the Coordinator, RIFAN and CBN special project in Niger State made this known in Bida during the inauguration of the 2021 wet season distribution and sale of paddy rice to farmers.
The RIFAN and CBN’s coordinator said that the measure was geared toward economic recovery efforts of the Federal Government.
“We have set up our machineries to checkmate prices of rice in the market. We are going to agree with the CBN on what should be the result of whatever will be the price of rice for consumers in the market.
“Here we want to assure you that we will uphold that any miler who has benefitted from this recovery and sell a kobo above the price that we have agreed upon will be prosecuted.
“Today, under the directive of the CBN, we have inaugurated a committee for the recovered paddy rice from the rice millers to be able to review down drastically the cost of rice in the market,” he said.
Usman said that in the state, 32,000 rice farmers had been engaged to cultivate 50,000 hectares of land with inputs through the support of the Federal Government and the CBN.
“We anticipate that we will get between 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes of rice for sale to rice millers. This is our contribution to the economy and our efforts to stabilise the price of rice in the market,” the RIFAN and CBN’s coordinator said.
He said that about 10 per cent of the paddy rice had been recovered from the farmers.
He also announced that many farmers got their inputs on time, noting that there was no need not to return the 15 to 20 per cent paddy rice (nine bags of paddy rice) as agreed.
“In fact, they are participating and we are also receiving the recovery,” he said.
Usman said the 2020 farming season witnessed some challenges as some complained of cultivating with bad seeds.
“We have forwarded their complaints to the appropriate authorities. Henceforth, I don’t think we will give seeds that are not genuine or that are not good to farmers.
“If the seeds are not good, no amount of input will bring out any good yields from the farmers,” he said.
The coordinator said that for the 2021 wet season farming, 42,000 rice farmers had been captured to cultivate between 200,000 and 300,000 hectares of land in the state.
“We are bringing on board civil servants, academic institutions, students and youths to be fully engaged in the cultivation of rice farms. So, hopefully, we will start this distribution in a week’s time,” he said.
He warned that all farmers that had not fully paid back the paddy rice as the rules stipulated would not be considered for this forthcoming wet season distribution of hybrid seeds and inputs.
“It is a loan and not a palliative, you cannot add loans upon loans, you have got to recover fully part of what you got before you can get new cycle of it,” he said.
Usman said there were about 28,000 bags of paddy rice recovered which would be sold out to both local and national rice millers.
“We have put in mechanism to ensure control price in the market is enforced. Nobody will be allowed to hoard this rice, whoever does that, the CBN has been alerted to either close down the rice mill or prosecute the owner.
“We will be able to control the prices of rice in the market because we have people in the market.
“We know those we have given the rice millers and we know those who are their beneficiaries.
“We will have our own mechanism to check what is market price is and the source of the rice they are selling.
“We will trace persons that sold to them and we will get them arrested because if we are to sell to the rice millers at N190, 000 per tonne, we expect that the person must come to the market with between N19, 000 and N20, 000 to the end beneficiaries,” he said.
Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Etsu Nupe and Chairman of the state Council of Traditional rulers, while inaugurating the event, urged the beneficiaries to double efforts in returning the paddy rice to the RIFAN and CBN to enable others to benefit.
Abubakar decried a situation where some rice farmers refused to pay back with the 15 to 20 per cent paddy rice as agreed.
“You must make sure that you pay back in order to ensure the continuity of this laudable programme under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the (CBN),” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Alhaji Useni Majigari, rice farmer from Lavun Local Government Area of the state, who lauded the government for the gesture, assured that the farmers would work toward repayment of the loans before accessing a new one.
Majigari appealed to the government to review the rules to enable farmers repay with six bags of paddy rice instead of nine bags to help them achieve sustainability in their activities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 50kg of local rice sells at N24, 000, the 25kg goes for N12, 000, while the 50kg of foreign rice is sold for N30, 000 in the market. (NAN)