The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kaduna State chapter, through the Secretary Mr Ishaya Audu, has called for the early provision of loans to its members to enhance rice production during the 2017 cropping season.
Audu said that inadequate farm inputs, implements, as well as loans, had hampered rice production in the previous seasons in the state.
“Our farmers produce at a loss due to lack of access to fertilisers, agro-chemicals, high yield seeds and tractors as well as loan facilities to boost rice production,” Audu said.
He also said that members of the association did not participate in both the 2016 Federal and State Governments Anchor Borrower Programmes as it was late for wetland rice producers.
He said RIFAN members could not produce more than three tonnes of rice in a hectare in the previous years.
“With the number of rice farmers in the state, the production will yield higher if we get access to inputs needed to commence production early in the 2017 season,” Audu said.
He, however, said that the farmers were now ready to access the loan facility under the CBN Anchor borrowers programme with 7,000 members already registered.
“The implementation of the programme began in August 2016, and that time was late for wet season farmers to engage in rice production, but now we are ready,” he said.
The RIFAN secretary appealed to governments to partner with the private sector to establish milling centres in the state to process rice.