The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has said that Lagos can be self-sufficient in rice production if it harnesses its natural resources as comparative advantages.
Deputy National President of RIFAN, Segun Atho, made the observation in a recent chat with the News Agency of Nigeria.
Atho, who recently emerged Best Rice Farmer in Lagos in 2020, noted that Lagos State could plant and grow rice all year round if the state government continues to support its rice farmers in the areas such as land clearing, storage facilities and equipment, among others.
He, however, pointed out that the recent re-opening of Nigeria’s land borders present challenges for local farmers to increase rice production in the country.
Atho said, “We have underground water, lagoon water, swamp water and rainwater. All this is to our advantage in Lagos and it means that we can grow rice all year round, without ceasing. We pray that the government will see it from that perspective and provide more support for us.
“We have almost 114,000 hectares of land earmarked for agriculture in Lagos if at least 10 to 15 per cent is open to rice cultivation; I believe that the sky is our limit.
“In Lagos, we have just started, because, by the time the rice mill at Imota is completed, we will support the working capacity of the mill to the fullest,” he said.
Atho also expressed confidence in the rising quantity of rice production across Nigeria, adding that the country would soon be self-sufficient in the production of the staple crop.
“We have over six million metric tons of rice today in Nigeria. We are at an advanced stage in Nigeria in rice cultivation. What we have been cultivating in the past when compared to what we are having today, we have surpassed what we have in the past,” he said
Meanwhile, the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) had earlier in the year disclosed that Nigeria had surpassed Egypt as the largest producer of rice in Africa with the capacity to produce up to 8 million tons of rice annually.
AgroNigeria’s findings also revealed that the proposition of the RIFAN Deputy National President tallies with a recent report by the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), an Anglo-American multinational professional services network of firms with an office in Lagos, Nigeria.
PwC in a 2018 report, Boosting Rice Production through Increased Mechanisation, indicated that Nigeria needed to enhance its mechanisation rate to boost rice production in the country.
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