In order for Nigeria to become a self sufficient nation in rice production by 2018, the Federal government has announced plans to facilitate the procurement of additional 40 large-scale rice mills.
The Federal Government has a new target to attain self-sufficiency in food production and annually export 10 million metric tonnes of food to ECOWAS region and beyond by 2019.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, speaking in Abuja on Thursday at a workshop themed “Big Boost for Agro Diversification and Export,’’ disclosed that the country’s food import bill has further declined from N1.1 trillion in 2009 to N684 billion in 2013.
According to the Minister, the Integrated Rice Mills (IRMs) of the Ministry had increased the rice milling capacity in the country.
Describing Nigeria as a country with huge agricultural potentials, Ogbeh said we are blessed with 263 billion cubic metres of water with two of the largest rivers in Africa, and 11 million hectares of arable land, but we only cultivate 40 per cent.
Hear him; “We have a cheap labour force to support agriculture intensification. We grow our food, feed ourselves and create local and international markets for our farmers and also unlock our enormous potentials in agriculture.
We can achieve the economic diversification goal of government and surmount the present economic recession.”
Ogbeh expressed hopes that with the help of the Pentair, Good Rain, Dayu irrigation, Zhong Zhou Poultry, Jinan and our local companies, we will diversify and get out of recession in no time.
Also speaking at the workshop, the organiser, Managing Director, Eurobase Nigeria Limited, Don Ekesiobi, said his company and the Ministry of Agriculture brought to Nigeria six world leading agro companies for partnership.
Ekesiobi said that the companies would introduce and showcase for adoption, technologies to turn around neglected agro value chain of the country in six months.