The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has expressed satisfaction that Nigeria is now producing 90 percent of the rice it consumed locally.
Ogbeh disclosed this on Tuesday at the 2019 Annual Research Review and Planning meeting held at the newly commissioned Balarabe Tanimu Conference Hall at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, Kaduna State.
Ogbeh, who was represented by Karima Babangida, the Director of Extension Services in the ministry, said this was achievable to local producers because of the backing they received from present administration, noting that the country is shifting “to eating what we grow, rather than eating imported food’’. He said:
“One very good example that we see today is the home-grown Nigerian rice. Hitherto, Nigeria has been a major and largest importer of rice from Thailand and this implies largest importer in the world.
“But today, we have been able to achieve a paradigm shift in the right direction and we are now producing 90 percent of the rice we eat in the country, I think we should appreciate our farmers here.
“Nigeria does not only have the capacity to feed itself, it also becomes a major actor in agricultural exports to other African countries, Europe and American countries, including the Far East, especially China.”
Babangida noted that the same thing is happening in other sectors of the agric economy, with collective efforts of stakeholders, Nigeria will have a favorable balance of trade in food items.
He said other sectors of the agriculture economy are witnessing the same trend and that with joint efforts of stakeholders, the country can achieve balance of trade in food items.
He pointed out the need for all stakeholders to collaborate to continue to develop the great potential in the country.