Abuja, March 30, 2019 (NAN) Rice farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), has strengthen trade ties with Turkey to construct rice silos and milling centres in six geopolitical zones of Nigeria following an agreement between them.
Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, the President RIFAN told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between RIFAN and Mysilo Grains Storage System of Turkey was currently being worked out.
He said that this had become imperative as a result of the company’s proven track record of being one of the world leading silos and rice milling machine builders with modern technology.
« This combines with the fact that it has an ability to continually innovate new technologies, making the produce attractive for investments. »
Goronyo said that the silos, storage tank and the milling centres when constructed would fulfill all the sanitary requirements for food preservation and storage for food security.
« The consolidation between RIFAN and Mysilo Grains Storage System of Turkey is expected to yield more investment to boost rice production and marketing, » he said.
He said that this was expected to increase the income of over 14 million rice farmers in the six geopolitical zones of the country, build their capacities and create market opportunities for the farmers.
« The silos will help reduce shortage of warehouses in the country and play a significant role in reducing post harvest losses. »
The RIFAN president said that the move had become imperative to meet the global rice outlook trade for 2022 forecasts of more than 46 million tonnes of rice heading to Africa.
He said this should be a wakeup call to other African countries to intensify rice production and avoid the continent becoming a dumping ground.
He added that the report also highlighted that 2030 indicated that the demand for rice would be on the increase, ranging between 505 million and 550 million tonnes.
Goroyo said with the forecast, the major strategic issues for Nigeria now are how to sustain the ongoing rice revolution and create new approaches to value chain development.
He said that the Nigeria’s rice revolution had been one of the most outstanding achievements in agriculture in the current administration’s bid for economic diversification as the country.
« It is currently producing an average of 5.8 million to six million tonnes of milled rice as against its national demand of seven million tonnes. »
Goronyo identified rice as a strategic commodity being a staple food in Nigeria and an important source of livelihood for around 1.8 million rice-farming households and for millions of rural poor who work on rice farms.
He added that it had also been listed as one of the economic transformation goals of the country.
He said that there was no other sector of the economy likely to bring a sustainable level of food security for the fast growing population as effectively as the rice industry.
« As it is doing at present to ameliorate the condition of food security, » he said.
Goronyo said that in 2015, Nigerians spent over N1 billion on rice importations, adding that while such spending had drastically reduced, consumption had increased because of increased local production of the commodity.
« Revolution and support for rice farmers in collaborations with CBN/ Anchor Borrowers Programme (APB) has increased rice production with a total of 12 million rice producers and four million hectares of FADAMA rice land. »
Goronyo said that the introduction of the programme had made many states including Katsina, Niger, Anambra, Kebbi, Cross River, Kano, Benue, Ebonyi, Jigawa and Sokoto, Plateau and Zamfara to create economic linkage between smallholder farmers.
« Also reputable large-scale processors, thereby increasing agricultural outputs and significantly improving capacity utilisation of processors. »
He said that the full collaboration would lead to high production that would take millions of Nigerians out of poverty and reposition the economy; « therefore there is an urgent need for storage facilities. »
He said that to ensure adequate production to fill the silos, government had provided the necessary enabling environments through agricultural policies with increased resources for the development and expansion of the industry to achieve high levels of rice self-sufficiency.
Goronyo said that emphasis were also placed on provision of resources for inputs, credits, land, equipment, promotion and marketing of agricultural inputs by the private sector.
Others include provision of favourable fiscal measures for production and harmonisation of local production and establishment of a decentralised rural input system.
The formation of farmers’ organisations to access credit and promoting of a partnership involving the private sector rice processing among others.