Rice farmers have assured Nigerians of their readiness to make the price of rice affordable and accessible by 2017.
Mr Aminu Goronyo, the National President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), gave the assurance in a telephone interview in Abuja on Monday.
He said the association had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some farm input suppliers in the country to ensure prompt supply of cheap fertilisers and pesticides to boost production.
Goronyo said some individuals and corporate bodies caused the current scarcity and hike in the price of rice in order to sabotage government efforts in agricultural diversification.
“We are going to assist the FG to produce more than enough rice for this country in 2017.
“It is part of the plan that we must bring down the price of rice in this country
“There are several efforts that we are making to see that in no distant time, this price of rice will come down for Nigerians to have access to affordable milled rice,’’ Goronyo assured.
The national president said that the association was also collaborating with both local and foreign companies to assist in the electronic mapping and registration of rice farms across the country.
He said this would help government to plan by having accurate and verifiable available land for rice production in the country.
Goronyo gave the assurance that rice production rate would be doubled in 2017 above the seven million tonnes produced this year.
“We have more than 4.5 million hectares of FADAMA land for rice production and each hectare has the capacity with a very good practice and management to produce five tonnes per hectare minimum.
“So, in one production cycle, we can produce 10 million metric tonnes of paddy rice and our consumption rate in this country is between 6.5 and seven million metric tonnes per annum.
“So if we can produce 10 million metric tonnes in one production cycle and we have three production cycles in a year, it means that we can feed this country and even export this rice that we produce,’’ he said.
The RIFAN president said the association would continue to support the Federal Government agricultural diversification as a way of boosting the economy.