Nigeria's importation of rice drops by 95%/ Audu Ogbeh
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, on Thursday disclosed that the importation of rice into the country has dropped by 95 per cent within the last two years.
He stated this in Abuja at the first Annual NACCIMA-NIRSAL Agribusiness and Policy Linkage Conference, themed: 'Implementing the Agriculture Component of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan'.
Ogbeh maintained that Nigeria has recorded so much success as regards cessation of rice importation, adding that this has led to creation of more jobs
for the people.
According to him, “One example of success is in rice. By September 2015, this country was importing 644,131 tons of rice. Exactly two years later that is September 2017 , rice importation drops to 20,
000 tons.
“That is drop for 95 per cent. However, smugglers have been busy trying to sabotage and compromise the country’ s effort to stop importation.
“There are 12.2 million people growing rice in the country, producing paddy for the rice mills.
“In Kano alone, we have 1,421 rice mills. We have large fields in Anambra, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Jigawa, kebbi and more are coming up.”
The minister asserted that the achievement was made possible as a result of the federal government's policy to stop importation.

He said that agriculture was strictly private sector-driven, adding that the government did not have any intention to engage in farming but to initiate policies that would be favourable for private sector investments.

According to Ogbeh, “Government has no farm and cannot attempt to farm. If we try, it will be disastrous. Farming business belongs to the private sector.

“That is why in our new policy called the Green Alternative agriculture production programme, we spelt it out clear that agriculture is private sector-driven.

“All that government can do is to lay out policy and try to ensure that the private sector succeeds when it gets involved in agriculture. We cannot solve all the problems in a year or two but we will certainly make some progress,’’ he said.

The minister disclosed that the government would also try and make interest rate on agricultural loans a single digit, adding that agriculture could not thrive under loans with high interest rates.


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