By Mike Adeyemi
The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kwara Chapter, has said three planting seasons in a year is visible and achievable in Kwara as it has set for its up take.
The Kwara State Chairman of the association, Ahmed Saba affirmed this while answering questions from our reporter, recently.
According to him, “rice production has evolved in Kwara and all indices have shown that we are free to go on three planting seasons in a year.”
“As at this moment in the last dry season, Kwara Rice farmers produced 350,000 metric tons as we are planning to have three season in a year.
“This is achievable as first planting starts August/September and to be harvested in October, another planting season in November/December with harvesting in March/April and by June we will commence another planting and by July/August we harvest,” he said.
Saba added that going by the trend in the production capacity of rice in Kwara, it is incumbent on the state government to establish a rice mailing factory in the state.
“Kwara State is a gateway to the South and North of Nigeria and our paddy rice is open and begins sought for across the country. We have Rice Mill (Increx) in Offa and also Mount Olive.
“All our rice are milled in Kwara contrary to the report that we mill outside the state. There is urgent need for the Kwara State government to establish a rice mill factory in Kwara. The existing ones are short of full capacity.
“The AbdulFatah Ahmed-led administration built a rice mill then but failed. The factory is no more functioning. Had it been the mill factory is still functioning, we would have had enough rice markets in Kwara State,” he said.
Saba, who is also the Ajiyan of Shonga Emirate further said the absence of rice mill in relative to production capacity had led to economic loss to the state as huge money is lost for taking paddy rice to another state for milling.
“If you are to move a bag of paddy Rice out of Kwara, it cost about N500 per bag which amounted to huge expenditure in the aggregate terms. It costs much and poses an economic loss to the state.
“For the people of Kwara to benefit in the ongoing Rice revolution, there must be a rice milling factor in Kwara. It will also creates job opportunity for our teeming youths and a source of revenue for the government.
“I want to advise that the government should encourage people to come and establish in Kwara and government should provide enabling environment.
“The Kwara State Government can have 10 per cent of shares in any of these private establishment and it will take us far,” Saba advised.