Rice Importation Must Be Discouraged In Nigeria, Says Jigawa Governor

Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, with the Governor of Hunan Province of China, Mr Oufang Huang, and others at the Government House in Dutse on October 9, 2019.

 

 

Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, has stressed the need to discourage the importation of rice in the country.

In an attempt to meet the demand in Nigeria following the border closure, he announced that the state would become one of the leading producers of quality rice.

The governor disclosed that the state government has completed plans to begin local production of farming implements and tools to boost rice production in the state.

He gave the hint when he hosted a Chinese delegation led by the Governor of Hunan Province, Mr Oufang Huang, on Wednesday at the Government House in Dutse, the state capital.

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Governor Abubakar explained that in order to improve farming activities in the state, the government would explore the option of solar power for gravity irrigation which would cover between 70 to 100,000 hectares of land.

As a leading producer of quality sesame in Africa, he said Jigawa would soon commence the exportation of the oil-rich seed to the tune of 30,000 tonnes to Huanan Province for extraction.

The governor added that his administration was using the Research Institute of Huanan Province to improve the yield and quality of rice production in the state.

He was confident that Jigawa would be the leading rice producer in the country in the next five years.

Earlier, Mr Huang said they were on a return visit to Jigawa State to have a strong partnership on agricultural production.

According to him, the visit was at the request of Governor Badaru who paid a similar visit to the province in China.

Prices Of Tomatoes, Yam, Rice Decrease In June – NBS Report

Tomato disease, Kaduna, tomato blight, tomato farms
File photo.

 

 

The average price of major food items such as tomatoes, yam, and rice reduced in the month of June.

This is according to the ‘Selected Food Price Watch (June 2019)’ report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report revealed that the average price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N317.67 recorded in June 2018 to N226.07 in June 2019, representing a 28.84 per cent decrease.

It added that the price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N249.52 recorded in May 2019 to N226.07 in June, also representing a 9.40 per cent reduction.

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NBS also disclosed in the report that the average cost of one kilogramme of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased from N373.47 in June 2018 to N352.82 in June 2019.

The price of one kilogramme of rice, according to it, reduced from N361.39 recorded in May 2019 to N352.82 in June 2019, representing a 2.37 per cent decrease.

The bureau explained that fieldwork was done solely by more than 700 NBS staff in all states across the country,

It added that the fieldwork was supported by supervisors who were monitored by internal and external observers.

NBS noted that the prices were collected across all the 774 local government areas, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from over 10,000 respondents and locations, stressing that they reflect actual prices households said they actually bought the items.

It said the average of all the prices was reported for each state, adding that the average for the country was the average for the state.

The report read, “Selected food price watch data for June 2019 reflected that the average price of 1 dozen of Agric eggs medium size decreased year-on-year by -8.23% and increased month-on-month by 6.55% to N495.32 in June 2019 from N464.87 in May 2019, while the average price of piece of Agric eggs medium size (price of one) decreased year-on-year by -5.01% and month-on-month by -8.20% to N39.30 in June 2019 from N42.82 in May 2019.

“The average price of 1kg of tomato decreased year-on-year by -28.84% and month-on-month by -9.40% to N226.07 in June 2019 from N249.52 in May 2019.

“The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased year-on-year by -5.53% and month-on-month by -2.37% to N352.82 in June 2019 from N361.39 in May 2019.

“Similarly, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber decreased year-on-year by -36.27% and month-on-month by -15.68% to N182.15 in June 2019 from N216.03 in May 2019.”

FG Approves N60bn To Boost Rice Production

President Muhammadu Buhari with Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, at the National Food Security Council in Abuja on November 16, 2018.

 

The Federal Government has approved the sum of N60 billion to support rice production in the country and crash its market price ahead of the festive period.

Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday at the end of the National Food Security Council in Abuja.

“The government has approved some money to support the rice industry to bring down prices, but we are going to handle it differently,” he said.

The Minister added, “We don’t want to get into the petroleum subsidy problem, so a committee is looking at it with the Ministry of Finance.

“And we think that it is better for us to lend money to the millers, the farmers, and the distributors, at a very low interest rate so that the capital doesn’t disappear.”

President Muhammadu Buhari presides over the National Food Security Council meeting in Abuja on November 16, 2018.

 

Mr Ogbeh thereafter revealed some of the measure being out in place by the government to tackle the crisis between farmers and herdsmen which has claimed many lives since the beginning of the year.

According to him, the government is devising ways of ensuring that the waste products of one part are made useful to the other.

The minister explained, “We are putting in place a programme now to see if we can aggregate all the wastes from harvest – maize stalks and sorghum stalks and millet, rice stalks, beans and so on, and process them to feed the cows instead of letting them (the herders) roam around and getting into these conflicts with the farmers.”

Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, who is also part of the council, reacted to reports by the U.S. Department for Agriculture suggesting that Nigeria imported three million tonnes of rice.

He said, “The only official importation in Nigeria is about 4,000 metric tonnes of rice.”

“The U.S. authorities responded by saying that their assessment was based on satellite imaging of flooded areas. Even in spite of the flooding, upland rice production has been quite strong this year,” the governor added.

Meanwhile, the council also announced a decline of Foreign Exchange expenditure on food items from $1.4 billion in 2013 to about $628 million in 2018.

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the food council meeting which held inside the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa.

Those who also attended are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, and Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.

Global Warming May Have ‘Devastating’ Effects On Rice – Study

 

As carbon dioxide rises due to the burning of fossil fuels, rice will lose some of its protein and vitamin content, putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition, scientists warned on Wednesday.

The change could be particularly dire in southeast Asia where rice is a major part of the daily diet, said the report in the journal Science Advances.

“We are showing that global warming, climate change and particularly greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide — can have an impact on the nutrient content of plants we eat,” said co-author Adam Drewnowski, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington.

“This can have devastating effects on the rice-consuming countries where about 70 percent of the calories and most of the nutrients come from rice.”

Protein and vitamin deficiencies can lead to growth-stunting, birth defects, diarrhea, infections and early death.

Countries at most risk include those that consume the most rice and have the lowest gross domestic product (GDP), such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Drewnowksi said.

The findings were based on field studies in Japan and China, simulating the amount of CO2 expected in the atmosphere by the second half of this century — 568 to 590 parts per million. Current levels are just over 400 ppm.

For the experiments, 18 different strains of rice were planted in open fields, surrounded in certain areas by 56-foot wide (17-meter) octagons of plastic piping that released extra CO2.

According to study co-author Kazuhiko Kobayashi, a professor at the University of Tokyo, the experiment is designed to be more accurate than growing in a greenhouse.

“This technique allows us to test the effects of higher carbon dioxide concentrations on plants growing in the same conditions that farmers really will grow them some decades later in this century,” said Kobayashi.

– Vitamins cut –

Researchers found that iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 — which help the body convert food to energy — were all reduced in the rice grown under higher CO2 conditions.

“Vitamin B1 (thiamine) levels decreased by 17.1 percent; average Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) by 16.6 percent; average Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) by 12.7 percent; and average Vitamin B9 (folate) by 30.3 percent,” said the report.

On average, protein content fell 10.3 percent, iron dropped eight percent and zinc was reduced by 5.1 percent, compared to rice grown today under current CO2 conditions.

Vitamin B6 and calcium were unaffected, and vitamin E levels rose for most strains.

The reasons for the changes have to do with how higher CO2 affects the plant’s structure and growth, increasing carbohydrate content and reducing protein and minerals, said the study.

Higher CO2 means less exposure to nitrogen, which also may affect vitamin content, researchers said.

Not all rice varieties saw the same drops in nutritional value, raising hope that future research could help farmers develop strains of rice that would be more resilient to atmospheric changes.

A separate study out last year by researchers at Harvard University found that global warming would cut protein in a number of key staples, including rice, wheat, barley and potatoes.

The result: an additional 150 million people globally may be at risk of protein deficiency by 2050.

Thailand Plans To Establish Rice Mills In Nigeria

Rice Imports Will Stop This Year, Says Buhari

The Federal Government has announced plans by Thailand to establish rice mills in Nigeria.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the announcement during a tour of some rice farms in Kebbi state.

The Minister says this was made possible because of the reduction on Nigeria’s rice importation by over 90 percent.

The minister also mentioned that Nigeria been able to cut down on the importation of rice from Thailand from 644,000 metric tonnes two years ago to a little over 20,000 metric tonnes currently.

Rice Imports Will Stop This Year, Says Buhari

President Buhari addressing the nation

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria will stop rice imports this year.

The President said this in his New Year broadcast to Nigerians on Monday morning, while assuring Nigerians that the government “is slowly stabilising the economy”.

Government officials have repeatedly pointed to an upsurge in rice production as one of the signs that the current administration’s plans to diversify the economy was achieving the desired results.

The President shares the same view and is satisfied with the progress made. Beyond the economic implication of self-sufficiency in rice production, President Buhari also expects Nigerians to get nutritional benefits from locally produced rice.

“Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to restructure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on,” he said.

President Buhari explained that it was in order to change the steady and steep decline in the economy that the government adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan.

Although the President is satisfied that “diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors” and the relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance”, he believes more discipline is needed going forward.

“We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management,” he said, adding, “The days of business, as usual, are numbered”.
With unemployment at record levels in the country, the President is keen to see more enterprising people rising to the task of nation-building.

“I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector,” he said. “Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.”

Okorocha Launches Indigenous ‘Imo International Rice’

Okorocha Launches Indigenous ‘Imo International Rice’
File photo

 

The Imo State government has launched its first indigenous rice called ‘Imo International Rice’ for consumption of residents and Nigerians in general.

This follows the partnership between the state government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Federal Government.

The 50kg-bag of rice was officially unveiled on Saturday by the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, at the Imo International Conference Centre in Owerri, the state capital.

Governor Okorocha, in his address, said the decision to start the production of an indigenous rice was borne out of his administration’s commitment to providing sufficient food for the people.

He added that it was also part of his resolve to create employment opportunities for the teeming youths and complement the Federal Government’s effort in promoting local rice production in Nigeria.

Okorocha described the feat as ‘a dream come true’, saying it would go a long way to support the efforts of the Federal Government in abolishing sales of foreign rice and promoting local rice production in the country.

On her part, Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security in the state, Mrs Ugochi Nnanna-Okoro, informed the gathering that the Federal and state government collaborated to train and empower a total of 3,242 farmers in rice farming.

She added that the performance of the farmers in one year has resulted in the production of more than 2,000 metric tons of packaged and processed stone-free parboiled rice.

Also at the event, the state government also showcased the locally-processed and packaged Imo smoked catfish.

According to the government, pilot rice farms have been established in 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state and plans are ongoing to create more in the remaining 15 LGAs while a bag of rice is to be sold at a discounted rate of N14,500.

In October 2016, Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Rice Production and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, visited Imo State alongside some CBN top officials to launch the Rice Anchor Borrowers’ programme.

One year and two months down the line, top government functionaries, traditional rulers, and indigenes of the state gathered to witness the product of the programme launched – the official unveiling of the first ever indigenous rice solely produced by farmers in the state.

Yobe Commences Irrigation Plans To Boost Rice, Wheat Production

Obiano Commissions Josan Rice Farm And Mills In Anambra StateYobe State has commenced preparation for a full scale irrigation farming in four different locations across the state in a bid to commence all year round farming.

Under the programme, the state government through a special task force on irrigation has commenced construction of canals and dykes as a strategy for harvesting and storing the abundant rainfall to be use during the dry season.

Governor Gaidam visited three separate potential irrigation sites where he reiterated the state’s determined to become a major producer of rice and wheat among other vegetable gardening.

“With what I have seen in these three locations and the intensive efforts of the Special Task Force on the scheme, I am confident that we will soon become a major player especially in rice and wheat production.

“We will give the task force every support it needs to grow these fields and empower our farmers to become commercial farmers,” the governor said.

Chairman of the special task force Mr Gambomi Goni, revealed that for a start, government will provide the farm and other imputes to attract the farmers into the profession but subsequently as they get used to it, they would be left alone to carry on with their businesses.

“We are currently working on 200 hectares each in Nguru and Muguram in Nguru and we are constructing a 1500 meters main canal as well as numerous intake channels.

“We will grow throughout the year and we envisage three cropping seasons with wheat around October-March, rice around March-July and then early variety of maize around July September,” Goni said.

Furthermore, he appreciated the strong backing the committee is receiving from government and assured to do its best in ensuring the success of the programme.

 

The governor, therefore, called on farmers to make the best use of the programme to improve their economy and that of the state.

Nigeria’ll Become Self-Sufficient In Rice Production Next Year – Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo Flags Off Lagos-Ibadan New Rail ProjectThe Federal Government says Nigeria will become self-sufficient in rice production by then end of 2018.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made this revelation on Monday while addressing a gathering at The Platform, a yearly conference organised by the Christian Covenant Centre, in Lagos.

“If all goes well, we should be producing all of our own rice by the end of 2018,” he said.

“And if we are able to do so, it means that the substantial part of our foreign exchange that we spend now importing rice will be saved.”

Osinbajo explained at the event that major growth in rice production was the result of the government’s decision to focus on agriculture as part of its efforts to diversify the nation’s economy.

He said, “For us, focusing on agriculture was key. And there are two good reasons; agriculture – the whole agro-allied value chain – is clearly the fastest ways of creating jobs and lifting millions out of poverty.”

According to Osinbajo, considering that the majority of Nigerians are actually poor, subsistence farmers, the government decided that to move them out of poverty, it will need to provide them with the right inputs, especially seedlings, fertilizer, and equipment so that they can actually multiply their yield and make more money.

“So, through the CBN’s anchor borrowers programme, we were able to provide financing for almost 200,000 farmers in the first place and in almost all of the cases, local production has almost tripled,” he said.

“We are now producing close to almost four million tons of rice.”

He said as a result, in 2016, Nigeria imported just about 10 per cent of the amount of rice it imported in 2015.

The Vice President also said the Federal Government was working to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

He said the efforts were captured in four broad categories in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.

National Fadama Project To Expand Rice Production In Ondo

Obiano Commissions Josan Rice Farm And Mills In Anambra StateHaving realised that Ondo State has a fertile land for rice production aside the focused cassava crop, the Fadama Additional Financing Project is set to expand the production horizon of rice beyond its present level in the state.

This was revealed by the National Project Coordinator of Fadama, Mr Tayo Adewunmi.

Adewunmi said Ondo State had chosen cassava as its major crop under Fadama components, but it was later discovered that the state is also good for rice production.

“What happened is that under our Additional Financing, in the main Fadama, our people are focusing on tree crops, livestock, aquaculture and all that, but our Fadama Additional Financing is focusing on four value chains which are cassava, rice, sorghum and horticulture tomato.

“When we started in 2014, the Ondo State government wrote a letter that cassava is their comparative crop, so it was during supervision that we realised that rice also grows well here.

“Thereafter we said let’s involve all states in the southwest, it was very successful and we now realised that the southwest states have good potential for rice and that started sometimes early last year, and that’s why we are promoting both rice and cassava.”

Buttressing Adewunmi’s point, the Community Development Officer of Fadama in the state, Mrs Jumoke Bakare, noted that the proposed site for rice factory mill has been arranged and necessary machines have been secured.

Dangote: Refinery Is Good, But Agro-allied Is Game-changer

Dangote: Refinery Is Good, But Agro-allied Is Game-ChangerPresident of the Dangote Group, Mr Aliko Dangote, says his group of companies’ expansion into agro-allied local production of tomato, rice and sugar is the game-changer.

He also noted that the expansion is in line with the Federal Government’s focus on agriculture.

The Africa’s richest man said this on Monday while addressing journalists at the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos State, south-west Nigeria.

He also closed the first trading day of the week, in company of top stock exchange executives, as well as Mr Femi Otedola and the NSE President, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede.

Mr Dangote, who celebrated his 60th birthday with the closing gong, gave an update on his ongoing 750,000 barrels per day refinery in Lagos.

IFAD President Advocates Right Policies For Agric Development

IFAD President Advocates Right Policies For Agric DevelopmentThe President of International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mr Kanayo Nwanze, has challenged the federal government to create the right policies for the development of Agriculture in Nigeria.

He said that the provision of the necessary infrastructure for seamless production and transportation would add great value to the sector.

He was speaking in Ogun state, southwest Nigeria, while visiting a private farm at Iboro in Abeokuta North Local Government Area of the state.

“I think the nation has awoken to the fact that oil does not feed people.

“We have not gotten better; some people have gotten richer but the population has gotten poorer.

“We have to go back to basics and the basics and fundamentals for Nigeria’s development is agriculture,” he said.

The IFAD President said it was a shame that Nigeria spends a lot of money on unnecessary food importation into the country.

He warned that government must avoid policy somersaults in order to fully tap into the agricultural value chains for national development.

“I think we make the mistake by thinking government would do all.

“Government has primary responsibility – the right policies and social investments.

“They must provide basic social requirements – good roads, energy, electricity, water and access to financial services.”

While expressing the resolve to partner with government in the production of maize, sorghum and rice, he called on Nigerians to take advantage of government policies.

“The population has a responsibility to take advantage of those opportunities.

“Government cannot provide jobs for Nigeria’s 175 million people. It is impossible.

“If a government employs more than 15% of its population , it will go bankrupt,” he said.