Some youths in Gombe, who operate small-scale rice processing machines have lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort in revamping the agricultural sector, especially rice production.
The youths, who gave this commendation in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Gombe said the boost in rice production was creating opportunities for youths who saw agriculture as vocation.
According to them, they have been able to sustain their households and employ several youths who have dumped social vices through their rice processing venture.
Yusuf Adamu, who has been into rice milling for six years, said the business was a good way of making a living as the president’s reforms of the agricultural sector had boosted rice production.
Mr Adamu said that rice farmers in the past usually had shortages of rice, which was a major challenge that made them stop processing for some time pending when rice was available for milling.
“We commend the president for reviving the agricultural sector, especially rice production which has kept us in business and has taken many of the youths working here off the street.
“Before now, getting rice for milling was seasonal but with the effort of the current administration, we get supplies all year round and that keeps us working as we have no other vocation.
“In fact, I buy rice from Adamawa and Gombe States. I have not experienced shortage of any kind in the last two years. I get the quantities I demand always in line with my purchasing power.
“The government has been supporting farmers through loans and that has boosted the interest in rice production and we are benefitting from the Federal Government’s gesture indirectly,’’ he said.
Mr Adamu, who said there were over 40 youths working under him, stressed that the business was being threatened by shortage of power, adding that they only got two to three hours of electricity every day.
He expressed fears that the youths could be out of job if the rice processing venture was shut down as a result of poor power supply, adding that they might go into drug abuse and other vices.
Ibrahim Dorokudi, who is also into rice processing, corroborated the claim, saying that the distribution company was only exploiting them that they were paying N30, 000 monthly yet they were not having beyond two hours daily supply.
“At present, we mill over 160 bags of rice seeds daily and still have more bags left because we work when there is power.
“If we can get constant or improved supply, we can process close to 500 bags daily because the boys are ready and eager to work and there is money in agriculture.’’
He said that rice milling was a tool that could be used by youths to create jobs for themselves, adding that he had built his house and his family was well catered for through the business.
Abdullahi Adamu, an employee in the business, appealed to government to come to their aid in the area of power, adding that with constant power supply or a stand-by generator, business would be better.