The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria in Bida on Wednesday agreed to partner with the Central Bank Nigeria to reduce the market price of rice.
Coordinator, RIFAN and CBN special project in Niger State, Malam Idris Usman, made this known in Bida at the inauguration of the 2021 wet season distribution and sale of paddy rice to farmers. He said the measure was geared towards economic recovery efforts of the Federal Government.
Usman said, “We have set up our machinery 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 miller who has benefitted from this recovery and sells 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 drastically review the cost of rice in the market.”
The RIFAN coordinator 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.
He said that about 10 per cent of the paddy rice had been recovered from the farmers.
Usman 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.
He said the 2020 farming season witnessed some challenges as some complained of cultivating with bad seeds
He said, “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.”
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.
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 a 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.
Chairman of the state Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, urged the beneficiaries to redouble 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 the 15 to 20 per cent paddy rice as agreed.
A rice farmer from Lavun Local Government Area of the Niger State, Alhaji Useni Majigari, lauded the government for the gesture promising that farmers would work towards repayment of the loans before applying for a new one.