By Olayinka Olawale
The Deputy National President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr Segun Atho said Lagos State has the potential to feed itself without depending much on others.
Atho told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday that he believed the state government would develop more in the production of rice, even when it just started its revolution,
He lauded the state government for its intervention in the rice value chain.
“Lagos State has land, even when they have a rather limited landmass.
”We want them to help farmers in terms of equipment, machinery, roads, water and other things that can enable them expand and sustain their developmental projects.
“We want government to clear and develop more land, provide swamp dozer, swamp buggy and other machinery to clear the swampy land for expansion.
“Lagos has the potential to feed itself without depending so much on others.
“Even though we are just starting, I believe that going forward, we are going to develop in this area of production.
“The Imota Rice Mill will need a lot of support and all hands should be on deck, both from the government’s side and that of the farmers.
“The training of rice farmers is a very good omen and I want the government to keep the tempo because growing rice is another level of development in the state.”
He urged government to provide other things like roads, warehousing, aggregating centres and ensure that farmers did not lack viable seeds and sustainable ones that could keep the tempo.
According to him, the rice initiative that the government has started is a welcome development.
`My advice for farmers is to utilise whatever support they get from government and not to do otherwise.
“They should be ready to use those things for what they are meant for.
“Farmers should not play pranks and should not see the support as political sharing, rather they should see it as an effort to develop themselves,” Atho added.
Speaking on the change in rain pattern and the long break, Atho said it was a natural climatic change, which he believes would not go without having an impact.
He urged farmers to take necessary precautionary measures to mitigate its impact on food production and security.
According to him, rain will surely fall.
“I fear that when it starts raining, it should not affect our production. This is because if you have not prepared the land and the rains start, then there will be problems.
“Farmers should prepare their land before the rains return, to avert problems.
“When it comes to the dry season like this type of nature that we are experiencing now, what we need is water pumping machine and boreholes.
“The Federal and State Governments can drill boreholes so that farmers can use their water pumps to wet their farmlands.
“Irrigation is the only solution to this kind of weather. Farmers need to continue to wet their farmlands as often as possible, to sustain the farms,” he said.