Price of rice: RIFAN urges govt. to end farmer/herder crisis, kidnapping

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has urged the government at all levels to prioritise ending farmer-herder conflicts as well as kidnapping in order to ensure a reduction in the price of rice.

Mrs. Nnenna Ejim, Vice President of RIFAN, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.

She attributed the current hike in the price of rice to insecurity, the farmer-herder crisis, the hike in input, and the rice boom.

Ejim identified other contributing factors to the non-implementation of government policy, like the anchor borrower programme, a lack of insurance coverage for farmers, and climate change, among others.

She decried that a lot of farmers were not able to process or harvest their crops last year due to fear of being killed or kidnapped.

“Government policy on anchor borrower was not implemented last year because of the election, and other factors like the COVID-19 impact have created a huge gap in rice cultivation, hence the hike.

“The Russian-Ukraine war is affecting us seriously because they are the greatest provider of fertiliser and other input, and at the moment we have difficulties getting such input.

“The way forward in ensuring a drastic reduction in the price of rice is that the government should prioritize the security of its populace both on farms and in communities.

“Farmers should be given inputs at a subsidised rate and also enlighten farmers on climate-smart agriculture so that they will not risk their lives or production trying to cultivate areas with lots of flooding.

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“There should be an issue of insurance packages or coverage for farmers and making sure that insurance companies come to farmers rescue in the event of any disaster,’’ she said.

NAN reports that the current price of a 50-kg bag of rice ranges from N70,000 to N80,000 depending on quality, as compared to last year’s price, which ranged from N32,000 to N36000. (NAN)

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