Mr Femi Oke, AFAN’s Chairman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos that the move was to key into rice production and explore opportunities that abound.

He said a lot of opportunities had been created by the Federal Government through the continuous closure of the county’s land borders against illegal importations.

According to him, the land is acquired under a five-year lease agreement to aid the association in contributing to the food basket of the nation through increase in annual metric tonnes of rice production.

Oke said: “We believe that we have to cultivate and have our own rice farm this coming season.

“We have encouraged our members to cultivate rice no matter how small it is to contribute and increase the number of metric tonnes produced in the country.

“There are lots of people that will venture into the area of agriculture and that will improve food security in Nigeria.

“No area of agriculture should be left out, for instance, AFAN members are into aquaculture, poultry, vegetable, piggery, cattle rearing, rice and many other areas of farming.”

He urged the States and Federal Governments to assist farmers with machineries to create access road to various farm settlements in the country.

“The lack of access road to farmlands is hindering activities of many farmers, thereby making it very difficult for them to farm.

“Government should assist us in opening up most of these rural roads that link farmlands in areas like the 200 hectares we just acquired in Epe.

“It costs a lot to open up roads to these virgin farmland for farming. The cost is very high and government’s intervention will help us a great deal.

“We have rented the land from the land owners, which are some families and the next step is clearing.

“Most of these produce have seasons because you have to do it at the right time for you to get results,” he said.

Oke urged the Lagos State Government to support the association by providing bulldozers, tractors and other tools that would aid farming.

He said provision of farm equipment like tractors, bulldozers and access roads would make it easier for farmers to increase yields.

“We want government to come to our aid in that area by providing bulldozers, tractors and enabling environment.

“We, as an association, have been able to bring ourselves to do something like the farmlands that we secured from the families.

“We have made some payments and agreements have been made with the families and they are giving us the land in possession for the first five years which is okay.

“What is left for us now is to carry out the land preparation for which we are now calling on the government to come to our aid.

“We need government’s support to clear the land, create road and make it accessible for farming.

“We want government to help open up all these farm settlements that we have in the state.

“If government concentrates more on extension services, there will be more food security in 2020,” he said.