The Chairman of Delta State Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr. Sylvanus Ejezie, has tasked the Delta State Government to reduce the cost of hiring tractors in the state.
Mr, Ejezie revealed this while speaking during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He explained that this decision will help to enhance rice cultivation, and ensure food security in the state.
According to him, the expenses farmers incur during land preparation are set to be compounded significantly by the cost of hiring a tractor, to speed up land preparation during this planting season.
He added that the state government needs to take drastic actions to ensure that the cost of hiring a tractor is reduced to the lowest level that will support optimal rice cultivation during the farming season, as the reduction in this cost would serve as an incentive for farmers to cultivate more farmlands.
News continues after this ad
Ejezie stressed that this move is necessary as farmers in the state hire tractors for land preparation at N20,000 per day, in addition to other expenses
“We expect that each of the 1,000 farmers in the state will produce four tonnes of rice per hectare. No fewer than 1,000 farmers have been profiled to benefit from the agricultural loan under the CBN anchor borrowers programme. All the materials were promptly supplied last year.
“Following our devastating experience last year when a flood washed away almost everything we planted, we took advantage of the dry season farming and are already harvesting. I want to commend Gov. Okowa for his support to farmers. He provided me with the first borehole in my farm when he (Okowa) was Commissioner for Agriculture in the state.
“To increase our effort in dry season farming, I dug extra two boreholes in order to provide irrigation cover for the eight-hectare of rice that I cultivated this dry season. In order not to suffer the same fate we suffered last year, we have advised our members to commence land preparation for this year’s farming season early enough.’’
What you should know
Delta State chapter revealed last year that it would be targeting 28,000 MT of rice from this year’s dry season farming, the chairman of the association disclosed that no fewer than 7,000 farmers registered to take part in the dry season farming in the state.
This ambitious move is expected to cushion the shortfall in rice production in the country, as farmers incurred huge losses during the wet season farming last year, due to the heavy flood which washed off a sizeable amount of their cultivation.