Aminat Isah, Abuja.
The Federal Government has declared that importation of rice from Thailand into Nigeria has dropped by over 90 per cent since the introduction of the anchor borrowers’ scheme by the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this during a tour of rice farm in Jaji, Kebbi State on Sunday, ROYAL NEWS reports.
The Minister noted that “since the beginning of rice revolution in Nigeria, the issue of rice importation from Thailand into the country is almost at a halt, with Asianian countries wanting to set up rice mills in Nigeria.
“I tell you, as we speak today, Thailand rice growers are making passionate appeal to the Federal Government. What they are doing now is that they want to set up rice mills in Nigeria, which means we have won”
He further stressed that, “Nigeria as a country have stopped importing from there going by the enormous rice revolution the country is experiencing. Yes, Thailand wants to set up several rice mills in Nigeria because we have stopped importing from them.
“Nigeria was able to cut down the importation of rice from Thailand from 644,000 metric tonnes two years ago, to a little over 20,000MT currently.”
Officially, we have been able to eliminate 90 per cent of rice importation into Nigeria. We’ve grown the number of rice farmers in Nigeria, from five million two years ago to about 12 million today. Also, there is a pilot scheme going on this season and we are doing 200,000 hectares of rice and each hectare employs 25 people.
“Now, that will be another five million people that will be added to the rice revolution. This programme has been flagged off already and as I speak to you today it is ongoing in Kano where 31,000 farmers are being empowered by the Central Bank of Nigeria this season.”
Speaking further, Lai Mohammed stressed that the government is looking at how to cut down the price of locally produced rice to be able to attain self would sufficiency in food production.
“We must look at how we can bring down the price of domestically produced rice. And one of the things we are being told today is that if we have gravitational water, it is going to help a lot. So these are areas we are looking at in order to make Nigeria self sufficient in rice production.
“The fact that we are now growing the number of our farmers and reducing rice imports, it means that we are getting closer to the target of self sufficiency in rice and food production as a nation”, he added.
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