FG Encourages Local Rice Production Towards Self-Sufficiency
The Federal Government of Nigeria, has endorsed the ban on the sale of foreign rice in Ebonyi State, with a view to encouraging local production, as the Nation strives towards rice self-sufficiency.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbe, gave the government’s position over the weekend.
He assured farmers in the state that the Federal Government would deploy agricultural equipment, including rice harvesters, threshers, and parboiling drums, to the state to encourage rice farming.
Mr Ogbe, however, asked youths to key into the initiative in order to diversify the economy.
Since recession hit Africa’s largest economy, there has been an upsurge in the cost of the staple food from about 12,000 Naira per bag of rice to over double that amount.
As a way of seeking solutions to the recession, the Federal Government as well as several economic analysts, have suggested a ban on the importation of products which the nation’s farmers can produce, though not in sufficient quantity.
The increase in prices has pushed many to resort to smuggling of rice to be able to sell cheaper to Nigerians.
Just last week, a tanker was intercepted by the Ogun State Area Command of the Customs.
Twenty-five other vehicles, loaded with smuggled bags of rice, were also intercepted along the land borders in some parts of Ogun State.
With the Federal Government’s intervention and full support in the area of local rice production, it is expected that the menace will be curbed while there would be increased supply of rice at subsidized rates.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, earlier in November, predicted that in less than five years, Nigeria would become self-sufficient in rice production, going by the actions and on-going support of the government to farmers and Nigerians