The Bayelsa chapter of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) says it is seeking foreign partners to produce rice in commercial quantity in the state.

The state Chairman of the association, Mr Ezekiel-Simeon Ogbianko, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa on Sunday.

Ogbianko said the association had acquired 40,000 hectares of land in Yenagoa Local Government Area for the commercial rice farming project.

He said that the association also acquired additional 5,000 hectares of land in each of the eight local government areas of the state for rice cultivation.

``We want to launch our website very soon and we need international partners. We have a large parcel of land for commercial rice cultivation.

``We need those with the technical knowhow and those that know the value of agriculture to partner with us and produce rice in commercial quantity in Bayelsa State,” he said.

Ogbianko said that the association was expecting a loan from the Bank of Agriculture to fully go into the project.

He explained that the state chapter of RIFAN faced the challenge of non-accessibility of the acquired parcels of land because the areas were characterised by thick vegetation and marshy soil.

The chairman decried the lack of rice mills in the state, and said that a large quantity of rice produced in the state was unprocessed because of lack of milling machines.

He said, ``if government can provide modern milling machines, rice production will increase in the state.’’