RIFAN, firm collaborate to cultivate 40,000 hectares of rice

A rice firm, Raymos Guanah Farms and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Bayelsa are collaborating to cultivate 40,000 hectares of rice during the 2017 planting season.

Mr Raymos Guanah, the Chief Executive of the Delta based firm, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Yenagoa.

Guanah said that a town hall meeting would be held on Feb. 17 to sensitise Bayelsans on the need to improve rice production this year.

“After the town hall meeting, we will start to train young farmers on rice cultivation to ensure increased production this season,’’ he said.

He said that his firm would serve as off-taker to RIFAN to buy the rice produced by its members.

“I am the off-taker for RIFAN in Bayelsa; we have agreed to partner in the production of the grains.

“Plan is underway to begin the planting season to ensure that we produce, process and brand it as `Bayelsa Rice,’ he told NAN.

Guanah said that he was partnering with RIFAN in Bayelsa to support the Federal Government’s campaign on food security.

“The partnership will enable us tap into the enormous agricultural potential, create wealth and jobs for the teaming youths in the state,” he said.

Guanah said that agriculture sector had the potential to strengthen the economy of the Niger-Delta region and by extension, the whole country.

“The agricultural sector can provide employment opportunities for citizens rather than going after government jobs.’’

Guanah said he would support the farmers in the areas of farm management such as planting, harvesting and processing.

“My farm in Delta has tractors, rice planters and bagging machines, among other tools.

“Bayelsa has good soil for rice cultivation.

“I am already doing it in Delta State and I want to replicate the efforts in Bayelsa,” he said.

Mr Ezikel Ogbianko, the Chairman of RIFAN in Bayelsa, said that the association had fixed Feb. 17 for a town hall meeting to sensitise members.

Ogbianko called on stakeholders in the state to support agricultural development for a stronger economy not only in Bayelsa, but in Nigeria at large.

NAN reports that such collaboration, though at governmental level, led to the production of the branded `Lake Rice’.

Lake rice was a product of joint efforts between Lagos and Kebbi State Governments through which tones of rice packaged in 50kg, 25kg and 10kg bags.

The rice was introduced by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and Alhaji Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State on Dec. 20, 2016 in Lagos.

“In March 2016, we signed an MOU with an understanding that we, being proudly Nigeria, want to come out with what is made-in-Nigeria and what is good in Nigeria.

“We took all that President Muhammadu Buhari said that we need to grow our food and we decided that we will prove a point and that is what today is all about,’’ Ambode had said.


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