By Mike Adeyemi
The Rice Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kwara State chapter has said it produces over 102,000 metric tons of rice paddy in the last planting season, describing the fit as a new dawn in the state.
Speaking on this development, the state coordinator of the association, Ahmed Saba stated this on Saturday while answering questions from our reporter in his office.
According to him, “it is indeed a new dawn in the rice production value chain in Kwara as our paddy is ranked top in Nigeria.”
“Some people had thought that it’s only Niger State and Kebbi that have comparative advantage in rice paddy, we also produced here in Kwara. Research has shown that rice paddy coming from Kwara is one of the best in Nigeria.
“Kwara State production capacity has grossly jerk up to 62,332 metric tons of rice paddy at the dry season farming and 40,000 metric tons during the wet season, making a total of 102,332 metric tons,” he said.
He added that virtually all the local government areas of Kwara State has full fledge comparative advantage in rice planting throughout the year round.
“We have large numbers of farmers on ground who are ready to go for wet and dry season rice farming. If you go to Edu, Moro and Patigi local government, people are there now preparing of wet season planting.
“We have proved that there is rice paddy in Kwara State. Virtually all the 16 local government of Kwara are rice producing area. So we get paddy all year round in the state.
“It is a new dawn in the rice value chain of Kwara state, as more unemployed Kwara youths have embraced farming hence taming the scourge of restiveness in the state, ” the Ajiyan of Shonga said.
Recall recently the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official document, celebrated the return of rice pyramid in Nigeria, alluding to the fact that Kwara has joined the elite states of rice production in Nigeria.
Kwara which contributed over 40,000 metric tons of rice paddy to the recently unveiled rice pyramid in Abuja, was not considered a rice producing state before this dispensation, but the state as emerged amongst the top producers in the country.
Kwara state was among other rice producing states that keyed into the. Federal Government rice revolution in an aggressive manner and this saw its rice production rise significantly within the dry and wet season, surpassing many states across the federation.
The federal government of Nigeria, recently celebrated the success of it’s rice production efforts, with the return of rice pyramid in Nigeria’s federal capital, Abuja.
The central bank of Nigeria, while unveiling the mega rice pyramid noted that, “at a period where the country had preponderance of imported rice in the Nigerian market, with only 6 functional Integrated Rice Mill and a national paddy output of about 4.5 million metric tons, the Nigerian rice industry was unattractive for both farmers and millers.
According to CBN, demand and supply gap was being met with import of over N600 billion worth of rice annually and this necessitated the introduction of the Anchor Borrowers program in 2015, as a game changer for small holder farmers financing.
“The anchor borrowers program created a dynamic ecosystem among all stakeholders, through the provision of input in kind, biometric identification of farms and farmers, extension services, guaranteed markets through well established off take contracts and further linkages to the agro processors to ensure the transmission of the gains from primary production to other nodes of the value chain”.
“Through the provision of quality inputs, good agronomics practices and secured markets for off take, productivity per hecters increased to an average 4-5 metric tons, integrated rice mills grew astronomically to over 50 in 2021 thereby unlocking enormous private sector investment to the rice value chain.
This also led to an increase in national output to over 9 million metric tons, from the initial 5 million, which is more than 80% increase within the space of 5 years” CBN said.