Rice farmers in Bauchi State have urged the Federal Government to sustain a current ban on importation of foreign rice into the country.
A cross-section of farmers in the state interview by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Tuesday said that the ban had helped in boosting local production of the commodity.
Malam Suleiman Dauda, a member of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), said that lifting the ban on foreign rice would spell doom for local farmers.
Dauda urged government no ignore calls for the lifting of the ban as it was not in the best interest of the country.
He said that such action would negate current efforts by local rice farmers to go into full-scale production of rice across the country.
Malam Ibrahim Sule, another farmer supported the claim and noted that government at both federal and state levels had supported local farmers along the rice value chain through various interventions.
He observed that the interventions had revived moribund rice mills which had correspondently bridged the insufficient gap earlier experienced in the production of the commodity in the country.
He said that the total ban on importation of foodstuffs had also jerked up government Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and wondered why the clamour for the lifting of the ban by some Nigerians.
Mrs Dorothy Samuel another rice farmer urged the government to impose high import duty on imported rice should the ban be lifted.
Samuel lauded the government for spurning import duties on agricultural implements but implored it to scale up its intervention programmes for local farmers.
She particularly urged the government to enhance its assistance to farmers on inputs and loans to further boost agricultural production in the country.
Samuel called on agricultural and commercial banks to grant sufficient services to local farmers to enable them to further boost production.
She, however, cautioned against granting such loans and assistance to white-collar farmers who were not real farmers.