Mr Raphael Hunsa, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Lagos State Chapter, says the association is ready to partner the Lagos State Government on paddy production and supply.
Hunsa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday that the partnership would go a long way in improving the sustainability of the new Lagos Rice Mill, Imota, Ikorodu.
He noted that the association had in the past signed an agreement on paddy production, adding that the association was still committed to the agreement.
Hunsa added that for the new rice mill to have impact on the market price and boost self-sufficiency, there must be constant paddy supply.
“You see, the price of padding as we know now are increasing day by day. Prices are so exorbitant, chemicals are so expensive and fertilisers are expensive too.
“So, it is what you buy that you will sell.
“We cannot buy in cheap and sell in high, you cannot buy high price and sell in cheaper price, who will bear the loss?
“We had partnered with the Lagos State Government sometimes ago on paddy supply.
“We even signed an agreement about two years ago that we will be supporting government with our paddy but we did not go into monetary agreement.
“With the inauguration of the rice mill, we are still open to such agreement if needed and we hope they are willing to partner with us,” he said.
The RIFAN chairman urged government to support farmers with farm inputs and implements to boost the state self-sufficiency in rice production.
Hunsa said that with the realities of climate change, there was need for government to support farmers with irrigation system to mitigate the effect.
He listed tractors, harrow, fertiliser, chemicals and improved seedlings as some of the things needed by farmers.
“We also need all the machinery like power-tiller, weeder and winnower so that we can be able to blow shafts out of our paddy rice to make it clean,” he said.
Hunsa commended the Lagos State Government for its commitment toward developing and improving the agricultural sector but said it needed to do more.
“I believe that with this project up and running now, many people will embrace rice farming because there will be off-taker of the paddy.
“Rice is a business, it’s not a hobby. When you go into it you will see that it is something you should have been doing for long,” he noted.
He urged more youths to come into farming and explore the huge potential in the various value chains. (NAN)