By Mike Adeyemi
The Kwara State Coordinator of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mall. Ahmed Sha’aba has said rice production in Kwara state has evolved as more youths have embraced farming in the state.
He stated this Friday while answering questions from our reporter in his Ilorin office.
According to him, “Kwara has joined the league of comity of states in rice production and value chains.
” Kwara is one of the states in Nigeria that produce large quantity of rice paddy in the country. But Kwara is under reported.
“The potentials we have in Rice production in Kwara is far better than what they have in other parts of the country like Kebbi, Kaduna among others.
“Kwara has boundary with River Niger. With that, the land that is available for Rice farming is enough to feed this country. Kwara can feed Nigeria,” he stressed.
Sha’aba added that five Local Governments out of the 16 in the state are actively producing rice, it remains for the state government to tap into the potentials.
“Presently out of the 16 Local Governments in Kwara, about five are actively producing rice and its value chain. These LGs are Edu, Patigi, Moro, Ifelodun and Asa.
But the Kwara State government is yet to discover the potentials of Rice production in this part of the state.
“If government take very seriously the people of Patigi, Kaiama and Edu who were affected by flood recently by urging the Federal Government to dredge River Niger, it will boost rice production.
“So, if Kwara State government is ready to support us, let them dredge the River Niger and we shall tell the whole world what we can do in Kwara, ” he added.
The rice Farmer lamented that his association hasn’t gotten the required support from the Kwara state government except in terms of some policies implementation.
“The support we got from the government is in terms of security, but we are yet to receive any form of support directly from the present administration.
“We have written letters to the government , but there are policies the government is coming out with like tractor support services, inputs support services and others.
“Recently, we had the opportunity to meet with the Governor, AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman with the team of the Central Bank of Nigeria who came to look at what we are doing at the local level.
“The governor said he is happy with us and that his government would guarantee us of the ISPO required to access loans. We asked him to open more land because people are ready to farm
He however said the future of rice production in Kwara is bright as over 30,000 youths have embraced farming in Kwara.
By Mike Adeyemi