Mr Raymos Guanah, a commercial rice farmer in Delta, has urged government to raise its support for farmers to attract more private sector investment in rice production.
Guanah, the Chief Executive Officer of Raymos Guanah Farms, Illah, near Asaba, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) in Asaba on Sunday.
He also advised the government to ensure that its current agricultural incentive was offered to real farmers to enable them cultivate and process rice to meet local demand.
According to him, government intervention in agriculture is not enough for the country to attain the desired self-sufficiency in rice production.
Guanah, a former commissioner in Delta, also noted that the rice value chain was yet to be properly developed and harnessed for maximum benefits.
He, however, advised farmers to reciprocate government’s current support to them by utilizing the incentives.
He said: “Farmers are still doing almost everything from land preparation to cultivation, harvesting and processing, farmers are also involved in distribution.
“Government’s involvement in agriculture is not enough for now.
“I think all that government needs do is to create the enabling environment for the private sector to cultivate and process rice.
“The off takers for the Anchor Progamme should be properly encouraged as this will be an assurance to the farmers that anytime they harvest, there will be a buyer ready for their produce.
“This will make them to keep going to the farm.”
Guanah advised government to set production targets for farmers it granted loans in order for them to be more serious in the utilization of the funds.
He urged the government to assist farmers with quality seeds, boilers and dryers to end the practice of drying the produce under the sun, and help eliminate sand and stones from processed rice.
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