Rice scarcity looms as farmers begin nationwide protest

Thousands of rice famers under the aegis of Kebbi State rice farmers association staged a peaceful protest in Birnin Kebbi recently to protest rice importation.
The farmers marched through the streets of Birnin Kebbi carrying placards before retiring to the Government House, to lodge their complaints to Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
The state chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Alhaji Mahammad Sanabi Augie, while presenting their case to the governor, said the proposed importation of foreign rice into the country was not in the best interest of local famers.
Governor Bagudu, who is the chairman, Presidential Committee on Rice and Wheat Production in Nigeria, said he would convey the famers’ message to the president.
Meanwhile, the National President of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Gotonyo, in an interview with Daily Trust on Tuesday,  said the protest would continue all over the country.
Goronyo said government has done everything possible to ensure that Nigeria feeds itself with locally produced rice, adding that: “The enemies of this country who are mostly foreigners have connived with our people to import rice into the country.
“We will continue to protest every now and then you will hear protest as long as that move is in the pipeline, we will not allow them to displace the 24 million people, who are gainfully employed by the Federal Government  rice policy.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh,   earlier blamed the high cost of food in the country on farmers who, he said had resisted the federal government’s effort at reducing food prices.
Ogbeh said farmers petitioned him accusing the government of denying them the chance to make profit from the high cost of food prices.

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Christian Voice