Rice farmers and processors have complains based on the challenges they face in production, high transportation cost, poor electricity supply and costly farm inputs.
Amos Fakunle, Marketing Manager of a rice-processing company in Ibadan, Oyo State, said that although rice is planted in swampy areas, too many difficulties are faced while tonnes of rice are to be transported from farms to production factories due to bad roads between them.
Fakunle, during an interview with newsmen, added that transporters’ bills are often expensive. While citing an example, he said that the transportation bill of rice bags from Bachita to Ibadan is N250,000 and Ibadan to Osun costs N200,000.
He further explained that after much effort is done in washing and sieving rice, quantity of clean ones aren’t too much due to removal of excess impurities such as stones, sand, and dirt leading to increase in price to maximize the profit.
Fakunle said that all these put together leads to a hike in price to cover up their expenses and thus efforts. He added that if a volume of over 90 per cent can be gotten from paddies, it is certain that prices will cut down.
In the Kebbi State, the State Rice Farmers’ Association Chairman, Muhammed Sahabi Augie enlisted high cost of inputs and loans, pest invasion and poor access to agricultural mechanization equipment, with an emphasis on bad roads as the possible challenges faced by farmers.
Augie said that bad roads make it difficult to transport input to farms, and harvest from farms to markets. He added that even inputs have become expensive so do they affect farmers’ profits.
The State Chairman recommended subsidies for rice farmers, and a five (5) per cent interest rate to help the farmers unlike nine (9) per cent.
It should be recalled that the Enugu State Government went into partnership with private consulting firms to train people on rice cultivation to improve the State’s local production.