The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has urged the federal government to sustain its current border closure, saying it would help boost the economy. Idris Abini, the chairman of Niger state chapter of the association, made the call in Minna during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.
Mr Abini said that the closure has increased rice production in the state due to increased demand by marketers and consumers. “Although we are yet to meet local demand for rice.
“We have started the journey to produce more rice due to the closure of our borders because efforts will be made by both government and farmers to produce enough food. “The border closure is a right step in the right direction because it is already increasing wealth among farmers as consumers are beginning to patronise our local rice,” he said.
He said that Nigeria has different varieties of rice that can compete favourably with foreign ones. The RIFAN chairman said that the closure would ensure security in the country as smuggling of illegal arms and ammunition would be curtailed.
“Those criticising the closure of the borders are not true Nigerians because it is one of the best decisions of this administration,” he said. Mr Abini expressed optimism that the policy would succeed as the government was providing the enabling environment for agriculture to thrive by supporting farmers with inputs and implements.
“The federal government has demonstrated this through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Scheme by allowing farmers to access more loans even when previous ones have not been fully repaid,” he said. (NAN)
Pix: Rice field in Nigeria