By: Willy Punvwet,
The Rice Millers and Dealers Association, Lafia Branch, Nasarawa State has made a passionate appeal to both the state and federal governments to as a matter urgency come to their rescue, by providing them with modern machine that would ensure the smooth processing of Rice in order to compete favourably with the quality of rice been imported from foreign countries.
Members of the Association also want government at all levels to encourage irrigational cultivation of rice, if the much talked about attainment of food sufficiency is to be attained.
Addressing Journalists at the rice mill in Lafia yesterday, the Acting Chairman of the Association, Alhaji Mohammed Maishasha, stated that, unless government gives rice farmers it’s full backing through the provision of soft loans, “the dream of the country becoming self sufficient in rice production would continue to be a mirage”.
Alhaji Maishasha explained that, the Association in its untiring efforts to ensure that the price of rice does not exceed the reach of the common man in Nasarawa state and country at large, took it upon themselves to travel all the way to Kebbi State in search of rice when they discovered that, the price of the unprocessed rice was fast getting beyond their reach, which invariably must surely affect the common man.
He said, “no sooner had they brought the quantity, which they imported from far away Kebbi State, the price of the one cultivated in the state dropped considerably”.
The Acting Chairman of the Association disclosed that, aside from providing employment to the teaming unemployed youths in the state, the Association also serves, as a stabilizing force in ensuring that, “the price of the commodity does not go beyond the reach of the less privileged in the society”.
He said the major problem that has hinder their smooth operation as an industry is lack of access road within their operational base.
He used the opportunity to appeal to the State Governor, to come to their aid, especially, at this raining season, as they always find it difficult to operate, particularly, the with respect to the heavy duty vehicles that come from far and near to transport rice to other parts of the country.
He commended members of the Association for their peaceful conduct during and after transmitting power to another leadership, adding that, “unlike other Associations that always ended up in exchang of blows or court litigations, theirs had always been characterized with exchange of pleasantries and smiles”.
He however, enjoined the members to keep to the spirit of brotherhood that has always prevailed among them, when it comes to such events.