Bayelsa Farmers Begin Private Initiative To Boost Rice Production | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bayelsa Farmers Begin Private Initiative To Boost Rice Production

Posted: Feb 24, 2016 at 9:35 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Igoniko Oduma, Yenagoa

Rice farmers in Bayelsa State, under the auspices of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), have taken their fate into their own hands with a move to establish private-sector-driven rice farms to boost output, even as they decry the absence of government support towards rice farming.
In an interview with Independent  in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Wednesday, Mr. Ogbianko Ezekiel-Simeon, the state chairman of RIFAN, said that the Bayelsa State Government was paying lip service to issues of agriculture.
“We tried our best as commodity associations, hoping that one day government will look into our proposals.
“And when you talk of agriculture in this state, the government in charge does not value agriculture. If it were a state that values agriculture, you would have seen the evidence or testimonies everywhere. But right now, in my state, I am not proud of agriculture, except for the private sector that is springing up,” Ezekiel-Simeon said.
According to him, as a way out, the Bayelsa State chapter of RIFAN was seeking foreign partners to produce rice in commercial quantity in the state and, in line with this, the association has acquired over 40,000 hectares of land for rice farming.
He said RIFAN acquired 5,000 hectares of land in each of the eight local government areas of the state so that every council could  produce enough rice for local consumption and export, so long as they get the funding they have applied for at the Bank of Agriculture, to go into commercial farming.