Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Niger State chapter, Idris Abini has urged the Federal Government to be unflinching in its decision to close Nigeria’s land borders, while also calling for the move to be sustained.
Abini who made the call in Minna during an interview with newsmen stated that the border closure would boost Nigeria’s economy and ensure security in the country as smuggling of illegal arms and ammunition would be curtailed.
The RIFAN Chairman said that although the increase in demand for rice by marketers and consumers has ameliorated the production of the commodity in Nigeria, he admitted that the country is yet to meet the local demand for rice.
He said, “We have started the journey to produce more rice due to the closure of our borders because efforts will be made by both government and farmers to produce enough food.
“The border closure is a right step in the right direction because it is already increasing wealth among farmers as consumers are beginning to patronize our local rice,” he added.
Abini also expressed confidence in Nigeria’s rice production process, stating that the country has different varieties of rice that can compete favorably with the foreign ones.
“Those criticizing the closure of the borders are not true Nigerians because it is one of the best decisions of this administration,” he said.
He further stated that with the border closure, the government was providing the enabling environment for agriculture to thrive by supporting farmers with inputs and implements. “The Federal Government has demonstrated this through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Scheme by allowing farmers to access more loans even when previous ones have not been fully repaid.”