The Deputy President of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr Segun Atho, has said that rice can be grown all year round in Lagos State to meet the demand for rice and feed itself. Atho stressed that with the resources available within the state, including underground water, lagoon water, swamp water and rainwater, if properly harnessed can assist with rice farming all year round. He added that the farmers would require the support of the government within the state to ensure that this vision is actualized.
Atho also revealed that there is about 114,000 hectares of farmland available in Lagos, and if 10 to 15 per cent of it is utilized for rice cultivation, “the sky is the limit”. The deputy president stressed that Nigeria should no longer rely on importing rice, citing Ghana as an example of an African country that produces its own rice rather than importing. He argued that Nigeria has the capacity to be self-sufficient, what is missing is the support for local farmers as well a lack of enough local investors in the business.
With government support, challenges such as land clearing, storage facilities, equipment, among others can be surmounted, according to Atho. In addition, Atho has encouraged farmers to see Nigeria’s re-opening of her borders as a challenge to increase food production as it would create healthy competition with neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, Lagos state partners with Kebbi state to produce the Lake Rice.