Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) canvasses increased production and consumption of local rice
The Bayelsa chapter of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has restated its commitment to boosting the promotion, production and consumption of local rice in the state.
Ezekiel Ogbianko, the state Chairman of RIFAN, conveyed the commitment in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Yenagoa.
He underscored the need to promote the production and consumption of made-in-Nigeria rice, saying that such a policy would stimulate the growth of the economy.
NAN reports that the rice farmers in Bayelsa have so far acquired over 120, 000 hectares of land across the eight local government areas of the state for rice cultivation.
Ogbianko said that the association had also registered and trained no fewer than 7,000 farmers in cluster farms, adding that many of them were based in the rural areas.
“Clearing and preparing of lands have started in some communities for the year 2017; here in Bayelsa, we have three planting seasons every year.
“This is because of the wet nature of our environment; we plant and we harvest every four months; the type of rice we plant is Faro-44, which does not waste time to grow.
“We chose Faro-44 because it is a kind of rice which can be cultivated twice or thrice in a year, depending on the climate and the fertility of the soil,’’ he said.
Ogbianko said that the association had planned to engage no fewer than 2, 000 youths, as part of its designed efforts to encourage young and old farmers to partake in rice farming.
“You know, this is a mechanised farming system; you do not have to struggle for you to plant and harvest because everything is done mechanically with the use of machines.
“Hopefully, we may have Bayelsa rice in the market this year, 2017, and I urge the farmers to be focused and hardworking.
“Some states have launched `Operation Produce More and Eat Nigerian Rice’, as part of efforts to boost local production and consumption; Bayelsa will not be left out in the scheme of things,” he said.