As part of the Federal Government’s efforts to enhance food security, Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, presided over a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat on Monday.
At the meeting, the government’s wheat programme and what could be done to increase wheat production in the country was reviewed.
In attendance at the meeting were the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele. Four state governors — Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi state; Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state; Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa state; and Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state were also present.
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Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Governor Bagudu said Nigeria’s current level in rice production was reviewed, adding that they wanted to ensure that farmers who have responded to the call are supported in terms of getting good prices for their output in order to sustain their interests.
He said the Acting President noted with satisfaction all the efforts by different stakeholders to attain sufficiency in the shortest possible time and assured them that the Federal Government would continue to support the drive towards self-sufficiency in food security.
Bagudu further disclosed that the government, out of necessity, would support the farmers, the millers and other stakeholders involved in the value chain.
He said farmers had responded and about 32 states had shown readiness to increase production. In his words;
“I think we have done very well. We have a remarkable increase in the number of states that have produced wheat from the last season.
“Last season, we had about five states but today we are hearing reports from about 11 states and the increase in output per state is quite significant as well.”
Bagudu expressed optimism that with the sustained trajectory, Nigeria’s self-sufficiency will be achieved. However, the governor said he could not affirm the claims that Nigeria is the second largest producer of rice in the world, as he did not have the data.
Meanwhile, Professor Osinbajo, has apologized to the government and people of Ondo state for postponing his visit to the state on Monday, February 19, a second time.
Prof Osinbajo was billed to commission the International Event Centre, Akure, also known as The Dome, as part of the valedictory activities of the outgoing administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
The commissioning was first scheduled for Friday, February 17, but was postponed after several hours of waiting because Prof Osinbajo could not attend due to what officials termed “bad weather.”
In a tweet by the spokesman for the Acting President, Mr Laolu Akande, Osinbajo explained that the visit was shifted due to weather conditions.
Following the shift, the Presidency extended apologies to the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the Governor-elect, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, traditional rulers and the people of the state.
The Dome is an edifice with a capacity for 5000 sitting audience in the main hall and another 3000 capacity available at the foyer and three domes. The project, conceived in 2010, was initially estimated to cost N1.5 billion.