FG pledges addition 50 rice milling machines to beef up local production
by HARRISON EDEH
January 26, 2017 | 6:28 pm| | | Start Conversation
Audu Ogbeh made the disclosure on Thursday, during a retreat with directors at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture which has the theme:”Unlocking institutional effectiveness of the Green Alternative”
The Minister who expressed optimism on Nigeria’s ability to be self sufficient in rice production by the end of the year said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has already made provisions for the 50 mills in the 2017 budget estimates.He noted that the rice mills will be spread across the country and would be managed by Private individuals and co-operatives.
The Presence of the mill will stimulate rice growing and we are optimistic that with what we did last year,in Kebbi, Ebonyi, Kano,and Anambra state, and by end of the year,we are optimistic, we would end rice importation with the steps we are already taking to support our nearly 12 million farmers,”Audu Ogbeh said.
Meanwhile, Ogbeh while charging the directors in the Ministry on the need to spear-head implementation of Government Policy said Nigeria must strive to to achieve self sufficiency in food.
According to him,”‘Imagine chaos in Nigeria,where are we going to go with the latest figure from the National Bureau of Statistics stating we are currently 183 million people”
“If we don’t lay foundation to feed ourselves, in the next 30 years, we would be 450 million people. This is the time to act and lay the foundation for the future” he said.
Meanwhile the while speaking further on the strategies by the Ministry to advance food sufficiency said,”The Federal Government has commenced the procedure of receiving back the Universities of Agriculture into the Ministry to perform their statutory duties better”
“We have been having meeting with the Ministry of Education, because the laws setting up the colleges of Agriculture was specific on their mandates. All these we are doing to ensure we have the right impact of research in driving our food sufficiency,”Ogbeh said.
It would be noted that Nigeria is one of the 12 major rice consuming countries in the world and the highest net importer of rice in Africa. Domestic demand for the product is between 5 to 6 million metric tonns annually, while gulping import gulps about $5 million annually,which is no longer sustainable due largely to lack of foreign exchange.
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