The governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, is optimistic that soon, Nigeria will boast of self sufficiency in rice and wheat production, despite plea from prominent Nigerians such as the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad, Sa’ad Abubakar III, to lift the ban on rice importation.
In his speech to State House Correspondents after the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on Rice and Wheat Production by the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, recently, Bagudu, who is the chairman of the committee, assure the audience that the committee will achieve its target within the shortest possible time.
According to him, the task force will help in identifying all that the country needs in order to become self sufficient in rice and wheat and step up current efforts to produce those commodities in Nigeria.
The Governor pointed out that the discord between farmers and millers needs to be addressed, adding that the two bodies in the value chain need to be mobilised for maximum results.
“His Excellency, the Vice President, invited few state governors – governors of Kano, Kebbi and Ebonyi– the Minister of State for Agriculture, the President of Wheat Farmers Association, and President of the Rice Farmers Association, and inaugurated a Presidential Committee/Task Force on Rice and Wheat.
“This committee will help in identifying all that we need to do in order to make Nigeria self sufficient in rice and wheat and step up current efforts to produce those commodities in Nigeria.
“That’s part of the assignment, but we are optimistic that given the current efforts in place across the country, industry of our farmers and increasing interest in investing in agriculture by many well meaning Nigerians we should be able to achieve the target within a short time that will lead to our national aspirations.
“There has been significant achievements in that respect as seen in this last season when the governor of Kano and myself supported our farmers to produce more wheat and wheat farmers have signed an agreement with the flower millers by which the flower millers agreed to obtain all that the wheat farmers are able to provide.
“We are seeing increasing interest in rice and many millers are now willing to work with farmers’ groups.”