The Rice Farmers Association this morning staged a peaceful protest to kick against rice importation in the country and the state. Leading the march was the Bauchi State Chairman if the group, Dr. Yahaya Yusuf. He said they were at the government house to protest and state their disapproval over a purported plan by the Federal government to lift the ban in rice importation.
Dr Yusuf described as “unpatriotic” the calls in some quarters urging the government to allow importation of rice. He added that Nigeria has what it takes to be sufficient in rice production, and stating that the country is on course to achieve that with the current Rice Farming policy of the Buhari led administration. He also said the gains recorded will be rolled back if importation if rice is allowed, adding that rice production can reduce unemployment and roll back urban-rural migration.
Responding, Governor M. A. Abubakar said that he had to receive the farmers himself, to show the premium his administration places on agriculture. He stated that he believes we can achieve not just sufficiency in rice production, but strengthen the entire agricultural value chain. He pledged his support for local production, saying his administration has revamped the moribund fertilizer company in the state and distributed thousands of bags of fertiliser for this year’s farming season.
Governor Abubakar said both the federal and state governments fully endorse local production, and calls for rice importation should be disregarded by the farmers. He added that the country and indeed the state is blessed with enough arable land and adequate labour to boost agricultural production. He recalled that the successful Anchors Borrowers Programme was initiated to support agriculture particularly rice production to show the seriousness the Buhari led administration has on rice production, which Bauchi state keyed into.
The number citizen of the state also hinted that Bauchi has started the purchase of local rice for free distribution to the less privileged in this holy month of Ramadan. He also revealed that arrangements have been concluded to boost the production of Jama’are Rice, while promising the group to deliver their protest letter to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.