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June 2024

Why Rice Farmers Fear Production Decline In Kano

Rice farmers in Kano State are worried that production in the state may decline over critical input costs and the failure of the federal government…

A rice farm in Taraba State

Rice farmers in Kano State are worried that production in the state may decline over critical input costs and the failure of the federal government to implement its new scheme in the state.

The farmers, under the aegis of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kano wing, said the non-implementation of the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-pocket (NAGs-AP), a new federal government subsidy programme targeting rice and other crops during the dry season, may affect productivity and likely worsen in the coming wet season.

Kano State chapter chairman of RIFAN, Alhaji Abubakar Haruna Aliyu, in an interview with Daily Trust, said rice production in the state was already suffering due to issues farmers have to confront since the fuel subsidy removal.

Alhaji Aliyu said rice production in the country suffered a serious setback in the last two years, adding that Nigeria’s level of rice production, which rose significantly during the last administration, is now declining.

He explained that Nigeria, which was ranked the highest rice-producing nation in Africa in the last four years, has unfortunately dropped due to the suspension of the Anchored Borrowers’ Programme and other related issues.

The RIFAN chairman further said the nation’s rice production has dropped because farmers can no longer produce rice while the demand keeps increasing.

“During the Anchor Borrower days, farmers were encouraged to grow more, coupled with the federal government’s policy on the border closure; Nigerian rice farmers were able to feed the growing number of rice mills across the nation and we were able to increase our level of production despite the increasing demand by consumers and the factories.

“Unfortunately, it is very worrisome to see how rice farmers are suffering now, and the newly introduced NAGs-AP, especially that of rice, seems to be dragging as farmers are yet to receive anything,” he said.

The federal government promised support under the new scheme but never did and the dry-season farming activities are going down.

Similarly, RIFAN Deputy Secretary General in Kano, Malam Ado Hassan, stated that the newly introduced programme, which is a three-year programme, is supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria on rice, maize and cassava.

The programme is not on loan but a form of subsidy where farmers would get farm inputs at 50% subsidy.

“The content of this programme is so realistic and implementable, in fact, we foresee a better programme that will no doubt assist and encourage real farmers. We have jumped at it, and we have already enrolled over 5,000 members. Unfortunately, this is many months into the dry season and yet none of our members received anything. They have already cleared their lands, some have hired more land and yet they couldn’t access the said subsidy meant for them. We have written to the authorities concerned and we are waiting for their response,” he said.

A rice farmer in Warawa LGA of the state, Alhaji Shitu Bello Danlasan, said that the non-disbursement or unwarranted delay in disbursement of inputs under the NAGs-AP to farmers in the state will no doubt affect the dry-season rice production, adding that many rice farmers have hope in the federal government’s intervention but unfortunately, it isn’t forthcoming.

Daily Trust gathered that beneficiaries under the programme would be supported with critical farm inputs such as fertiliser, seeds and agrochemicals through the ICT-based delivery platform with a view to increasing their productivity, household incomes and livelihoods.

According to a source in the ministry, the use of the ICT platform in implementing the scheme will not only help to easily evaluate the actual performances and impacts of the programme, but also track the transactions between the beneficiary farmers and the contracted input providers with a view to promoting transparency and accountability in the input delivery process to guarantee the sustenance of the scheme. QR Code

Published Date: May 16, 2024

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