FG Denies 400,000 Metric Tons Of Rice Import By Nigeria 

Yemisi Izuora 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has denied a recent report which said that Nigeria imported 400,000, Metric Tonnes (of rice) more this year.

Mohammed said the report though cited the 2018 United States

Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade Repot as its source, which also claimed that Nigeria’s local rice production is dropping, but the report cannot be expatiated as the figure could not provide any empirical ground for the

report.

It is in that context that Nigerians should see the recent fake news

that Nigeria imported 400,000 metric tonnes more than the quantity of

rice imported in 2017, just as he warned Nigerians not expect support from any food exporting country for Nigeria’s ongoing policy to ensure self sufficiency in food

production.

The Minister while speaking at a Special Town Hall Meeting on

Agriculture in Dutse, Jigawa State, on Monday, noted, “Please permit me to alert Nigerians to the reality out there: In pursuing our agricultural revolution, which will ultimately lead to self sufficiency in the national staples, we should not expect

accolades and support from outside, especially from countries that

have hitherto been the main exporters of food items such as rice to

Nigeria.

“Every nation pursues its national interest, and it is definitely not

in their interest for Nigeria to produce what it consumes, because it

means you will no longer import from such countries.

He said contrary to the report, the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed

that it had not allocated any foreign exchange for the importation of

rice this year because rice importation has reduced to the barest

minimum.

“So those who claimed that Nigeria imported 400,000 MT of rice more

this year have not been truthful,” the Minister said.

While recalling that the conspiracy to thwart Nigeria’s push toward

self sufficiency in rice did not start today, he said in 2015, the

government was put under undue pressure to import rice ostensibly to

make up for a massive shortage, when in the real sense there was a

glut of paddy rice produced locally.

Alhaji Mohammed said there is no doubt that the Buhari Administration

has made a giant stride in the area of Agriculture, which is widely

regarded as one of the success stories of the Administration.

In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,

Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the reduction of interest rate on lending to

farmers to 9 per cent has ignited a revolution in agriculture in the country.

Chief Ogbeh said with the reform of the Bank of Agriculture, which

will be completed by the end of this year, the government is targeting

5 per cent lending rate to farmers.

The Minister said the revolution in agriculture by the present

administration has now turned Nigeria into an exporter of agricultural

products.

“In July this year, the Tin Can Island published a report that

Agricultural export has risen by 150 per cent. Containers leaving Nigeria are

no longer going empty,” he said.

Earlier, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru

Abubakar, had led the four Ministers who came for the Special Town

Hall Meeting on the tour of an agricultural exhibition where farm

products including processed and packaged local rice, packaged soya

beans, sesame seeds, curry powder, fruit juice, fish, goats, rams as

well as farming implements were on display.

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