By Sumayya Muhammad Dzarma
Some rice farmers and millers are seeking for governments’ support in improving the standard of rice production in the country.
They said supporting them would boost food security and lessen the country’s over-dependence on imported rice.
Nigeria, as a country, is known for its oil-rich land and it is one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil.
Despite all the human and capital resources in the country, diversifying the economy becomes a major challenge.
Recall that the Buhari-led administration in its quest to diversify the economy, boost agricultural production, and ensure food security, had banned the importation of rice.
The ban, despite all the unforeseen hardship and criticism, had prompted many to venture into farming and had greatly become a means of empowerment for many.
However, after the Buhari’s administration, the current administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu has lifted the ban on rice importation.
In light of this, many who have invested in local rice farming and production fear losing their means of livelihood.
Undoubtedly, the country is blessed with favourable weather and climatic conditions that support different varieties of crops such as cereal, tubers, grain, and many more.
A rice miller in Mubi, Bashir Abdulhamid, stressed the need for governments at all levels to support local rice mills across the country.
The rice miller said they help in food security and empowering a lot of youths.
He added that, by lifting the ban on foreign rice importation and the fluctuation in the value of dollars, many would not afford local rice and that will have a great toll on their businesses.
On her part, Lydia Ayuba, a rice farmer, said the major challenges they are facing are the high cost of farm inputs, climatic changes, farmer-herder crises, and lack of capital among others.
She said, with the cost of production, poor output, and low demand, she has no other alternative than to quit farming.
The duo, therefore, called on the government to support them and reduce the country’s over-dependence on foreign goods.