The President of 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.
He said there are situations where after planting, farmers who were able to access their farms would discover that the bandits have harvested their rice and taken them away.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune, Dama said climatic conditions such as drought is also affection rice production in some parts of the country
“You find out that people are being chased out of their farms, or they go to their farms and find out 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 people use for planting rice are dried up, 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.
Furthermore, he said poor power supply and vandalization of power infrastructure in the factories and high cost of diesel have 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 Nigerians that are so terrible that they go to vandalize power infrastructure.
“Government is trying to provide for you to be able to process and mill rice, at the end of the day, you go to your factory to find out that your armoured cables have been vandalised, 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 said Nigerian miller and rice processors are doing their best in such a way that in spite of the challenges , they still continue production.
“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 N1000, but currently, it has gone up to between N3000 to N5000 per sac bag.