North-West farmers, rice millers delighted with border closure

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Farmers in Kano and Kebbi states have commended the border closure, saying it is the best thing ever done by the Federal Government to farmers in the country.

They insist that the government’s action had made positive impacts on the economy, especially the survival of rice mills hitherto struggling to survive due to smuggling.

Alhaji Faruk Rabi’u, the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kano state chapter said farmers were now more confident in producing more rice.

The border closure is a clear indication that the Federal Government is ready to boost agricultural production by insisting on the patronage of the home products.

“With this development, farmers will have more confidence that their produce will be patronised. Therefore they can invest more on their farms because they know that after harvesting their farm products will be sold.”

An industrialist, Alhaji Aminu Ahmed, also commended the Federal Government for its decision to close the nation’s borders to check smuggling of foodstuffs and other goods into the country.

The border closure has received significant support from the Nigerian Rice Producers who said the policy is greatly making an impact on the home grown rice,” he said.

Alhaji Muhammadu Jega, a large scale farmer, who holds the traditional title of Sarkin Noman Kabbi said it would be a great mistake to open the borders now.

We should increase the production of rice until we reach a level that we don’t need to import as we have it in abundance even waiting to be exported.

“Nigerians should understand the difference between the imported rice and the ones we produce here in the country; between the fresh and preserved one.

“I believe we can produce rice that we can feed ourselves and even export to other countries.”

The General Manager of one of Nigeria’s largest rice mill – Labana Rice Mill Limited – Alhaji Abdullahi Zuru said in spite of support to farmers and processors through the CBN  by the Federal Government, the import of rice through borders had negatively affected production of rice in the country.

Before the closure of borders, from February to March this year, it was disclosed by the National Association of Rice Millers of Nigeria that more than 20 million bags of rice had been smuggled into the country from different borders.

“I want to state without fear of contradiction, additional five million or more had been smuggled into this country afterwards.

“So this situation had led to the closure of some rice mills, suspension of production in some rice mills in Nigeria and was discouraging farmers to embark on dry season farming this year.

Most of the rice mills, if you go to their warehouses then, they have produced so much such that they filled all the warehouses, they had nowhere to stockpile their products and as a result of that they stopped production.

“But now, we are looking for paddy rice to buy as our warehouses have been almost empty as we produce and sell and buyers are coming more and more,” he said.

Zuru commended the Federal Government for the closure of the borders, adding “it is a good move in the right direction.