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‘Rice production: Nigeria will save $2.5b yearly from self-sufficiency’
Ministerof Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, on Monday expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon attain self-sufficiency in rice production, considering measures so far put in place to actualise the dream.
Speaking at the International AgrikExpo in Lagos, the Minister said when this is achieved; Nigeria would be capable of saving about $2.5 billion yearly, which would then be put in the hands of the nation’s rice farmers and rural communities.
Already, he said, “against all odds, we are succeeding. Through massive free distribution of high yielding rice varieties, provision of fertilizers and mechanised services, supported by small scale irrigation, rice production has exploded in the country.
“Within two years, our national paddy rice production rose by 4.3 million metric tonnes. The number of integrated modern rice mills in the country rose from five to 15 within two years, all processing the local paddy into high quality finished rice.
“The expanded local rice production has added N320 billion to the economy, with over N170 billion as net incomes to farmers and rice processors, and boosted rural economy by 360,000 jobs.”
He maintained that a nation that cannot feed itself is at the mercy of other nations, subject to the volatility of global commodity markets.
He also announced that investors are moving massively into local rice production and milling of rice, as part of concrete measures to achieving the nation’s quest for self- sufficiency in rice production.
Continuing, he said: “Olam has invested $70 million in a fully mechanised rice farm and will soon commission its 210,000 metric tonnes integrated rice mills, the largest in Africa.
(Source - Daily Independent_