Nigeria’ll be self-sufficient in rice by end of 2017

01.09.2017

Nigeria will be self-sufficient in rice production by the end of this year, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Chief Audu Ogbeh has said.

Ogbeh, who gave the assurance at the First International Cocoa Summit, organised by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, in collaboration with Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Abuja, noted that rice production had improved tremendously across the country as a result of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).

According to him, the programme has supported farmers through inputs distribution and loans to boost rice production across the country. While pointing out that rice is one major staple food consuned by almost every Nigerian, Ogbeh said the move was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to diversify the economy through the agric sector. He, however, advised rice farmers to reduce the price of a tonne of paddy rice from N150,000 to N120,000 to make it affordable for millers and discourage smuggling. ”By the end of this year, we can tell you that we are self-sufficient in rice,” Ogbeh declared, expressing regrets on the increasing number of malnourished children across the country.

He hinted that the Federal Government, through his ministry, would encourage land clearing, fertiliser application through extension workers to promote cocoa production. He said:“We are planning a re-launch of cocoa to draw national attention to its strategic importance, but the big thing is to help processors at home and increase consumption. Everything is not about export; nowadays, the export market is choked, forcing prices down while farmers are losing money.”

He promised that the ministry will help with land clearing, fertiliser improvement, especially the inclusion of boron to revive old cocoa plantation and encourage new ones.


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