Thursday, January 7, 2016 11:57 pm
The grouse of the rice farmers and millers is premised on Federal Government’s failure to at least control the rate of importation to allow the lofty programmes embarked upon towards domestic rice production to succeed. According to Ogbeh, many of these local rice farmers and millers, who have since upped their production levels as their hopes were raised by government’s promise to ensure that all that they produce and mill will be easily marketable in the Nigerian market, are now convinced that government was only playing to the gallery by vowing to encourage local production to discourage massive importation of the commodity.
“Rice farmers and millers are very frustrated since they cannot market their products because of massive importation. We asked these farmers to grow grains in the sun and rain, only for them to mill it in facilities that the government assisted in making available, and eventually discover that they are stuck with their product, ” the Agriculture Minister said. He further revealed that many of the farmers whom he had interacted with, are on the verge of calling it a day and moving on to other avenues to make a living. ‘’Many of these farmers and millers involved in rice production are already threatening to forget about this venture and facing their destiny in other ventures,” Ogbeh disclosed.
The Minister of Agriculture emphasized that Nigerian farmers did not need experts from abroad to tell them what to do. He noted that government support towards creating a market environment that will encourage domestic production and supporting the farmers in other ways is key in discouraging exportation.
Nasir Ahmed, a member of the House of Representatives pointed out at the interactive session that it is only in the agricultural sector that every state in the country has its own potential. He also emphasized that food security is a bigger threat than the insecurity being faced in the north east. ‘’We must have a chunk of the budget going to agriculture for the next 5-10 years, and we will witness changes if this happens,” Ahmed said.