Following the rise in the prices of food across the country, the federal government has ordered the release of paddy rice to millers.
The rice is recovered from the loans and inputs given to the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN).
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Speaking during the flag-off of the distribution of 2021 wet season and sale of paddy rice to millers in Bida, Niger State, RIFAN coordinator in the state, Alhaji Idris Usman Jakanta, said the release was meant to reduce and stabillise the ongoing soaring price of rice and other food items in the market.
He said the distribution of the 2021 wet season distribution of rice seedlings and other farm inputs to farmers would follow immediately, adding that those who have not refunded their dry season returns won’t benefit from the new one.
“Under the directive of the CBN, we have flagged off the sale of paddy rice to millers from the pyramids displayed under recovery from farmers to the rice millers to be able to review downward, the cost of rice in the markets.
“In order to checkmate the millers, the RIFAN, in collaboration with the CBN, would put in place the mechanism to ensure that the control price of rice was also enforced. We can only exercise control when there is price control in the market. Nobody would be allowed to hoard this rice, whoever does that, the CBN would be alerted to either close down the rice mill or arrest and prosecute the owner of the mill. By so doing, we will be able to control the price of rice in the market because we have our people there,” he said.
Jakanta disclosed that with the recovery done so far, the RIFAN would be able to get between 20,000-30,000 tons of rice to rice millers for sale in the market.
For the wet season farming, the coordinator said they would open up to accommodate more than peasant farmers and servants in order to meet up with the CBN’s target to the state and create more wealth for the people.
According to him, “For the wet season farming, we have mapped and verified over 700,000 hectares of land, out of which we have cultivated less than 20 per cent, while the CBN approved for us to cultivate 250,000 hectares.
“The RIFAN will only cultivate 50, 000 hectares while we intend to share the remaining for other groups that are indicating interest.”
Also speaking, the Etsu Nupe and chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, said the programme was a game changer in boosting the economy of the country.
The monarch, who was represented by the Maiyaki of Nupe, Aliyu Mayaki, a pharmacist, expressed delight with the display and return of rice pyramid, and urged the beneficiaries to double up to return the 20 per cent they were asked to pay from the harvest. He added that failure to return it means there won’t be products for millers.
He called on all village heads that have not returned what they ought to have returned to do so.
Highlight of the event was the display of two rice pyramids of 6,500 tons. There are over 28,000 bags of rice in the warehouse, expected to be sold to both local and national rice millers.