The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Bayelsa chapter, says apart from flooding, portfolio farmers are also hampering the development of rice production in the state.
Ezekiel Ogbianko, the Chairman of the association, who made this revelation in Yenagoa, called on both the federal and state government to come to their aid.
“We are making progress in terms of rice farming in Bayelsa, but the challenges here are very enormous; they range from flooding to portfolio farmers.
“The association is preparing for the dry season harvest, but the rain is not helping us; some of our lands at Ondowarie, Otuokpotu in southern-Ijaw Local Government Area have been submerged by flood.
“Accessing the lands are difficult; we want the three tiers of government to help us; in the season’s harvest, we are expecting 4, 000 tonnes of rice because our plan is to make the local rice available for our people.
“Well, I must commend the government’s support in terms of inputs supply, but the portfolio farmers, who siphon those inputs is still our problem.
“On manpower, we are planning to employ more people for the dry season harvest, and we expect bountiful harvest,” the association chairman said.
RIFAN on Sept. 6 inaugurated wet season planting of the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and the distribution of farm inputs to farmers for the season.
The chairman said that no fewer than 227 farmers benefited from the inputs, which included 1, 200 bags of fertiliser and 64 cartons of pesticides.