The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Thursday said that the importation of rice into the country has dropped by 95 per cent in the last two years.
Ogbeh disclosed this in Abuja at the first Annual NACCIMA-NIRSAL Agribusiness and Policy Linkage Conference, which has “Implementing the Agriculture Component of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan” as its theme.
The conference was organised by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture in collaboration with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending.
The minister said the country has made a lot of success in terms of stopping rice importation adding that this had led to creation of more jobs for the people.
He said, “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.”
He said that this was achieved because of the federal government’s policy to stop importation.