The President, Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), Peter Dama has said that the lingering insecurity across the country, which has made it impossible for some farmers to access their farms, has left millers without paddy to mill. Dama said that there were situations where after planting, farmers, who were lucky and able to access their farms, would only discover that the bandits had harvested their rice and taken them away. He observed that climatic conditions, such as drought, had affected rice production in some parts of the country.
“You’ll find out that people are being chased out of their farms, or they go to their farms and discover that vandals or bandits have harvested their crops and taken them away. Insecurity is a very big challenge and it is affecting production in terms of cultivation. Secondly, the rains are not just there, a lot of the rivers or places that people use for planting rice are dried up and that is not within our control; you give somebody a farm, he digs a borehole and there is no water; these are natural things affecting production”, he said. Dama added that poor power supply and vandalisation of power infrastructure in factories and high cost of diesel, had left miller frustrated.
“For production, power is very essential because in a factory or production area, you need to have power. In spite of the difficulties that power distribution companies are having, there are some people that are so terrible that they go to vandalise power infrastructure. Government is trying to provide for you, to be able to process and mill rice and at the end of the day, you go to your factory to find out that your armoured cables have been vandalised, and that is a problem. A lot of millers depend on generators because of the failure in the provision of energy, but these generating sets don’t use water, they use diesel and petrol, but the price of diesel has skyrocketed, and it is a problem”, he lamented.
The RIMAN President, however, assured that Nigerian millers and rice processors were doing their best such that irrespective of the challenges, they still continue production, saying “Do not expect millers or processors to be the people that subsidise consumption for this country; it is expected that with the difficulties we are passing through, we should be able to make little profits. The sac bag used to cost, maybe N1,000, but currently, it has gone up to between N3,000 to N5,000 per sac bag”.