Rice Farmers Want Databank For Easy Distribution

Senate President Bukola Saraki (middle) and other Senators at the National Assembly, after plenary, yesterday.

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Kaduna State has called for the establishment of a databank on farmers so as address the challenges of inputs distribution.
The Deputy RIFAN Chairman in Kaduna State, Alhaji Muhammed Numbu made the call yesterday in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna.
He said that the Kaduna State Government ought to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to set up a databank on the farmers, the kinds of crops they cultivated and the size of their individual farmlands.
”Farmers are where they are today because the association has not been able to properly plan for its members because of lack of reliable data and other farm records.
”The availability of comprehensive data would facilitate early land preparation as well as procurement and distribution of fertilisers, improved seeds, tractors, agro-chemicals and other farm inputs which farmers need during cropping season.
”The data will also enable the government to calculate the number of extension workers that should be engaged to guide farmers for each of the major crops grown in the state,’’ he said.
Besides, Numbu said that the data would enable farmers’ associations and the government to determine the quantity of farm inputs that should be procured for farmers.
According to him, the information will also help the government in projecting annual production output of farmers and also identify areas of challenges for possible intervention.
Numbu, however, blamed the low patronage of government fertiliser in the current crop season on multiple fertiliser procurement channels in the state.
He said that the fertiliser was even cheaper in the parallel market, as it was currently sold for N5,300, while, in some cases, it was sold at lesser prices.
He said that RIFAN had procured fertiliser through arrangements made with some private companies, which supplied the commodity at rates that were lower than the government price.
”RIFAN has, through private arrangements, supplied members with adequate fertilisers at a more subsidised rate of N5,200 per 50kg. bag of NPK fertiliser, as against the N5,500 price offered by the government,’’ he said.
The Tide recalls that Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State on March 15 launched the sale of 50,000 metric tons of assorted fertilisers for the 2018 crop season in Turunku, Igabi Local Government Area.
The governor then said that the 50,000 metric tons of NPK 20:10:10 fertilisers would be sold to farmers at N5, 500 per 50kg. bag.
He said that the fertilisers would be distributed across the 23 local government areas of the state via a special arrangement with Flour Mills Nigeria Plc. and TAK Agricultural Solution.
Numbu, however, reiterated the need to establish a database on farmers in order to ease their access to fertilisers and other farm inputs.
He said that that the database would also facilitate the farmers’ plans to access credit facilities from banks, adding that RIFAN had been facing some challenges in its efforts to access funding from commercial banks.
He commended the government for its various interventions in the agricultural sector, particularly the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA), which had boosted agricultural production in the country in the last three years.