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June 17, 2024

Host Roundtable to Address Food Inflation, RIFAN Tells FG

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Lagos chapter, has called on the federal and state governments to hold a roundtable with farmers to address food insecurity.

RIFAN Chair, Raphael Hunsa made the call in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.

Mr Hunda said the roundtable should focus on developing strategies to address the present food inflation in the country and increase support to farmers.

He said the food inflation in the country required collective measures that would yield long-lasting solutions to the food security strategy of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

He said the government must urgently engage farmers through registered associations on challenges impeding production.

He noted that the leaders of farmers’ associations were not involved in most of the decisions made on behalf of the farmers.

According to him, the government must work with the farmers to achieve success.

“We are not being invited to the majority of their programmes. We need to have a roundtable with the government because we know what is required to improve our productivity and not the government dictating and giving us what they think we want.

“Farmers need continuous support on input, seedlings, chemicals and machinery to continue to produce food all year round and meet the nation’s demand. In the past, even when meetings were held, the implementation of recommendations didn’t come immediately; most times, we may not get anything,” he said.

The RIFAN boss urged the government to devise a mechanism to track and monitor various interventions targeted at farmers to ensure they reached the intended beneficiaries.

He noted that a bag of locally produced rice costs over N70,000 in the market, adding that the cost of production, transportation, milling, and packaging were contributing factors to the soaring price of the commodity.

According to him, if the government wants farmers to produce rice for the state, they must get support from time to time.

Speaking on the federal government’s grain distribution to citizens, the RIFAN chairman said the situation had gone beyond grain distribution. 

The RIFAN chairman urged the Lagos government to engage and work more with rice farmers in the state to increase the paddy production capacity.

He said if all the bottlenecks were addressed, farmers in the state could produce more paddy for the state’s rice mill.

He said the country would continue to move in circles until the government addressed the economic challenges, stabilised the foreign exchange market, provided incentives for farmers, and addressed the unemployment rate and insecurity.

The rice farmer urged governments to emulate strategies adopted by other developed countries to tackle the food crisis and ensure sustainability.

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