The Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Delta, Mr. Silver Ejezie, has appealed to the state government to make agrochemicals available to farmers in the state.
Ejezie made the appeal on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (Newzandar News) in Asaba.
He expressed regret over the shortage of agrochemicals used for weed control, adding that the development would have a negative impact on their farm if the situation did not improve early.
He said that farmers could not go to Onitsha to buy the agrochemicals due to the continued movement restriction as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
He said that the only alternative to the Onitsha market was for farmers to access the chemical from the Delta Agricultural and Rural Development Authority which, according to him, does not have the chemical in stock.
Ejezie lauded Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for relaxing the lockdown in the state, saying that the measure had enabled farmers to return to their farm to produce food for the people.
He said that April and May were the peak period for farmers, particularly rice farmers, to plant and ensure effective control of weeds to enable the crops to grow properly and unhindered.
According to him, the lockdown is making things difficult for farmers because this is the period they plant their crops and maintain them to ensure a good yield.
“We thank the governor for relaxing the lockdown to enable us to go into food production for the people of the state and Nigeria.
“However, the challenge we have now is that we cannot access agrochemicals to keep the weeds out from our farms to enable the crops to grow well.
“Due to the continuous inter-state movement restriction, farmers in Asaba are finding it difficult to go to Onitsha, where we buy the type of agrochemical (Touchdown) for weeds.
“This is a major challenge because it will affect our productivity at the end of the day.
“So, we are appealing to the governor to help us to purchase the chemicals by giving us the concession to travel to Onitsha to buy them,” he said.
The state PIFAN boss also disclosed that no fewer than 7001 rice farmers had registered with the association to boost rice production in the state.
According to him, the list of registered farmers has been sent to RIFAN headquarters for assessment and approval.
“The approved names will be benefiting from the Central Bank of Nigeria rice farmers’ loan in the state,” Ejezie said.