• As experts calls on farmers to exploit presidential initiative on rice
THE General Manager of Labana Rice Processing Mills, Alhaji Abudulahi has disclosed that no fewer than 7,000 rice farmers have been registered with the company to cultivate and provide the company with rice paddy for final processing into finish Nigeria rice in Birinin Kebbi, Kebbi Sate recently.
Zuru who said that the management of the mill had inspected farms owned by the farmers as condition for their registration, reiterated that the mill will act as guarantors to enable the farmers’ access agricultural loan to be obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that the mill would purchase the rice paddy produced by the farmers.
The GM also disclosed that the mill would also provide insecticides, fertilisers and water pumping machines to the farmers as loan. He added that the Rice Mill will soon register another 20,000 rice farmers to increase the tempo of activities at the mill and to supply rice paddy for the mill.
Zuru who expressed satisfaction that the rice project recently introduced by the Federal Government would boost commercial rice production in the country revealed that the mill produces 300 tonnes of par boiled rice per day which are sold in markets nationwide.
In the same vein a large-scale rice grower, Alhaji Umar Salisu, has called on rice farmers to work closely and take advantage of the opportunities in the Presidential Initiative on Rice in Hadejia. The President Muhammadu Buhari recently officially launched the N40 billion Anchor Borrowers Dry Season Rice Planting Programme sponsored by the Central Bank of Nigeria in Kebbi which was part of the N220 billion Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) to be availed to rice farmers across the country at a single digit interest rate of 9 per cent per annum.
The policy document of the anchor borrowers’ programme is geared on building the capacity of banks in agricultural lending to farmers and entrepreneurs in the value chain as well as reduce rice importation, which has gulped more than N1 trillion annually.
Salisu who said that by working closely, rice farmers would be able to ensure sanity in the successful implementation of the Presidential Initiative, pointed out that it is through association that the real farmers could be met, because these farmers are already members of various organisations and working as an association.
He beckons on those who are not members of the association to kindly come and join the associations because it is the only way that is safe for real farmers. He added that, a lot of people might say money has come and this is the right time for them to get an opportunity, but when they come back to the umbrella union, there will be sanity, as the leaders are looking forward to the success of rice production in Nigeria.
The rice farmer who further urged the government to adopt proactive measures to ensure that only genuine farmers benefited from the initiative called on rice farmers to use the facility and other support services provided by the government to boost rice production.
Salisu lauded the initiative of the government, saying that it will help boost the production of Paddy rice and ensure self-sufficiency, adding that this is a welcome idea because for long the rice farmers have been looking for such opportunity Mr President launched.
Salisu looked forward to seeing rice farmers develop to such an extent that they can process rice and bridge the existing gap that foreign rice is creating in Nigeria, concluding that in the next two to three years, rice farmers can reach a level whereby this importation problem will come to a halt.