By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
No fewer than twenty five thousand rice farmers in Niger State are to receive free farm inputs including assorted improved, hybrid seeds and other things from the state’s association of rice farmers in conjunction with Nigeria’s apex Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria as the current farming season streams.
Niger State is a amongst the leading rice producers in the country and had between 2012 and 2014 led as the leading rice producer in the country.
Chairman of the state’s chapter of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, (RIFAN) Mahmood Sani said all registered rice farmers in the state would be given free inputs by the association as part of strategies to encourage rice farmers in the state to recapture their lost position as largest rice growers in Nigeria.
Mahmood Sani said the registered farmers in the state have uptill 12th of August to collect the inputs or forfeit their shares of the inputs. He said the collection centre is at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Minna branch office, while the distribution of the inputs is currently ongoing across the three senatorial districts of the state.
He said the ongoing distribution of the the farm inputs to rice farmers members of the association was intended to boost rice production in the state even as he warned that any rice farmer found selling the inputs distributed, would be penalized appropriately.
He therefore, charged members of the association in the state to take up the challenge and avail themselves of the various measures put in place by the state government and the CBN’s anchor borrowers scheme to enhance rice production.
Sani boasted that rice farmers in the state can produce enough rice to meet local demands of rice in the country and even for exports to some West African markets.
The Niger State Chairman of the RIFAN however enlisted more of the state government’s assistance to rice growers in the state to ensure bumper rice production.