The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) on Sunday said that it produced 15 million metric tonnes of rice this year.
RIFAN Deputy National Vice President, Segun Atho, said that the association’s rice production in 2017 was in excess of Nigeria’s population rice requirement of seven million metric tonnes annually.
The RIFAN executive spoke at the Celebrating Nigeria Rice ceremony held at the Foursquare Gospel Church, Yaba, Lagos.
“We produce 15 million metric tons of rice and Nigerians can only consume six to seven million metric tons; we produce excess and we can export the remaining ones to some African countries.
“We have about 85 million hectares of land out of it about six to seven million hectares can be use to cultivate rice that can feed Nigerians.
“As farmers we make Nigeria rice available to Nigerians, we urge Nigerians to look inwards and start patronising made in Nigeria rice,” said the RIFAN official.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Dr Adebola Osibon, the church’s Head of Children Ministry, urged parents to encourage their children to become farmers.
“I feel that it will impact on the children positively, the children did not know that being a rice farmer is important and good,” he said.
Mr Sagar Joe, Policy Adviser, Competitive African Rice Initiative/John Kufour Foundation, said the ceremony was aimed at sensitising Nigerians on the quality and availability of Nigerian rice through children.
“The program entails identifying one or two schools that organises end of year pupils party, find out the number of bags of rice needed to feed the pupils and supply them free of charge.
“It is also aimed to significantly improve the livelihoods of big rice farmers in selected African countries by increasing the Competitiveness of domestic rice supply to meet increasing regional demands,” he said.
The event was orgànised by RIFAN and Competitive African Rice in conjunction with Foursquare Gospel Church.
Over 700 children from the church and neigbouring Makoko, Ijora-Badia, Ojuelegba and Bariga communities attended the ceremony.