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Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Akwa Ibom Chapter, says it has taken delivery of 40,000 tonnes of high grade rice seedlings from the Federal Government for wet season farming.

Akwa Ibom Chairman of RIFAN, Dr Ita Akan, told newsmen in Uyo on Thursday that the rice seedlings would be distributed to 7, 000 registered rice farmers in the state.

Akan, who was represented by Mr Emmanuel Essienobom, RIFAN Secretary, said that the association had captured the data of registered rice farmers to ascertain their authenticity.

“We are expecting a large quantity of fertilizers from the national level for onward distribution to farmers after cultivating their rice.

“More farm inputs such as herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, in addition to more high quality rice seedlings, are also being expected,” Akan said.

He commended the state government for assisting farmers with land cultivation to reduce the stress experienced by farmers during planting season.

Akan, a retired Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that land preparation was always a major hindrance to farmers in rice cultivation.

The RIFAN state chairman said that collectively, members would be able to cultivate about 20, 000 hectares for rice farming to ensure food sufficiency in the state.

He explained that the high quality seedlings were procured to ensure that the rice matured on time for harvest.

“By this time next year, we will produce rice for consumption in the state based on what we have on ground and government’s assistance to rice farmers,” he said.

He urged RIFAN members to make good use of the rice mill in Ini Local Government Area for processing and packaging of the produce to add value to the product.

He commended the state government for appointing a consultant to train and advise rice farmers on modern techniques.

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