The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) on Tuesday said that it had launched the `Operation Produce More and Eat Nigerian Rice’ as part of efforts to boost local production and consumption.
The South-West Zonal Coordinator, Mr Segun Athoh, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that rice farmers had the dedication and ability to improve production.
Athoh said that the association was already clearing and preparing the lands in the Badagry area of the state, to grow rice.
“We are presently on the farm now doing land preparations to grow rice in Badagry, Lagos. What I will advise Nigerians, according to my slogan, is: Operation produce more and eat Nigerian rice.
“We have the dedication, ability and discipline to achieve this, so that we can match other nations, shoulder to shoulder.
“It is high time Nigerians changed their pattern of feeding; if we can grow rice, wheat, guinea corn and many others, there is nothing bad to eat our own.
“Nobody will query us for eating our local produce, we have to change our pattern and look inward,’’ he said.
The coordinator, however, urged the Federal Government to do more in terms of direct funding.
“It is time for everybody to have a sober reflection on the state of agriculture in the country. Everybody should start growing what we can eat.
“We have to do what we call backward integration so that at the end of the day, we will be self-sufficient in Lagos State, and the country at large.
“With the little land in Lagos State, I believe we can feed ourselves. Where we have shortfalls, we can get more to add to what we have,’’ Athoh said.
According to him, over 80 per cent of Nigerians are farmers across the nation.