Yemisi IzuoraThe Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai
Mohammed, says government is inching close to achieving its objectives of attaining self sufficiency in rice production as the present administration has drastically cut importation of rice in the last two years.
Buttressing his claims, the Minister said rice importation from Thailand, which supplies the bulk of the parboiled rice being imported into Nigeria, dropped from 644,131 Metric Tonnes, MT, to about 21,000 MT between September 2015 and September
”We are happy to tell Nigerians of a giant stride made by the
Administration in the agriculture sector, specifically rice
production: Nigeria is inching closer to achieving self-sufficiency in
rice, due to the success recorded by the Administration in the local
production of rice,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said that as a result of the Administration’s success
in local production, some investors from Thailand have even shown
interest in establishing rice milling plants in Nigeria, a development
he said would further boost rice production in Nigeria.
”A few years ago, this (Thai investors establishing rice mills in
Nigeria) would not have been possible since Nigeria was not considered
a top rice producing country. Today, Nigeria is one of the largest
producers of rice,” he said.
The Minister said the increase in rice production across the country
did not happen by accident, but was largely due to the Anchor
Borrowers’ Programme, initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari to
support farmers through inputs distribution and loans to boost rice
production, and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, among others.
He said the increased rice production has, in turn, led to the
establishment of rice mills, including the 120,000MT WACOT Mill in
Kebbi and the 1,000,000MT Dangote Rice Mill.
Alhaji Mohammed said with the Administration targetting rice
production of 7 million MT by 2018, the country was closer than ever
to achieving self-sufficiency in rice, going by the fact that as at
2015, rice demand in the country was 6.3 million MT.
He said the increased production was bound to force down the price of
locally-produced rice and provide succour to Nigerians.