Jalingo — Local rice business is booming in Taraba State following the closure of Nigerian borders, which has drastically reduced foreign rice coming into the country.
North-East Trust's finding revealed that both farmers and local rice dealers are reaping from the booming market across farming communities in the state.
Hundreds of merchants from across the country including rice millers now source rice paddy and locally processed rice from the state.
Potential of the state in rice production was not fully exploit until recently when demands for both paddy and locally processed rice increased.
The state has vast fertile land suitable for rice production during wet and dry seasons and thousands of farmers engaged in rice farming, turning out thousands of tonnes of rice paddy annually.
Findings further revealed that the three major rivers in the state-River Benue, River Taraba and River Donga have fertile wet land stretching hundreds kilometers and is suitable for both wet and dry season rice farming.
It was further gathered that only about 25 percent of these lands are being utilized while the remaining lay fallow.
Major areas where rice farming is taking place include Tau,Yalwan Tau,Donada,Lau,and Didango.
Others are Sheka, Kambari,Amar, Gassol, MutumBiyu,Donga, Chinkai,Ibbi,Sansani,Ibbi sarkin Kudu,Bali and several other areas.
North East Trust's investigation also revealed that currently there are about seven major markets for paddy and locally processed rice in the state.
The markets are located in MutumBiyu, Bantaje, Didango, Lau, Donga, Jalingo and Tella.
It was further discovered that majority of rice milling companies in the country sourced paddy rice from MutumBiyu paddy market.
At Mutum-Biyu paddy rice, there are depots with pyramid of rice paddy purchased by major rice milling companies in the country.
Similarly, some millers also purchased locally processed rice from the state and package them for sale after reprocessing and packaging.
The booming rice market in the state also gave rise to increasing number of local rice milling business. There are over 14 local rice milling facilities across seven local government areas of the state.
A local rice miller, Mallam Habibu Jalingo, told North East Trust that every day over 3000 bags of 100kg bags of rice paddy is being processed locally in the state and there was a ready market.
According to him, customers from Abuja, Kano, Lagos and many other parts of the country come to buy local rice from the state on daily basis.
He said price of local rice has come down because of mass production of rice paddy, adding that the closure of border is a blessing to both rice farmers and local millers
In Jalingo town, there are two major rice milling factories -AL-Ganzaki rice mill and Mophido rice mill, which process more than 35 tonnes of paddy daily.
Alhaji Aliyu Sarkin Noma, owner of AL-Ganzaki rice mill told North East Trust that the closure of border has brought good market for both rice growers and the millers.
He said there were increasing demands for local rice, resulting to increase in its production.
The chairman of Taraba state Rice Farmers Association (RIFAN), Alhaji Tanko Bobbo Andami, said presently there were over 300,000 rice farmers in the state.
He said the Anchor borrower scheme introduced by the federal government through the central Bank allows the farmers to access soft loans.
He said demand for local rice following closure of borders also boost business in both paddy and locally processed rice in the state.
The National President of Rice Farmers Association (RIFAN), Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, said Nigerians now eat fresh and healthy rice and that farmers are now getting value for their produce.