Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Monday begged President Muhammadu Buhari not to reverse the ban on rice importation because “farmers are smiling to their banks now compared to what used to happen.”
The governor made the appeal in Makurdi when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, paid him a courtesy visit on Monday.
He asked the President to sustain the policy on the ban of rice importation and not succumb to any pressure of lifting the ban as a result of the recession in the country.
“The ban on rice importation remains a major milestone in the development of agriculture in Benue. We want to appeal to the federal government to continue with the policy,” Ortom said.
“There might be hardship for a little while but farmers are smiling to their banks now compared to what used to happen. I have been into farming since 1984 and I am a living witness to this development.
“Before now, when we cultivate rice, we were not able to sell even the cost of production but today things have changed. Just harvest, the market is already there,” he said.
The governor said many youths had ventured into rice farming thereby solving the challenge of unemployment. He assured that with sustained policy and a value chain in the sector, Benue had the capacity to produce the staple food for the country.
Ortom also urged the Federal Government to compel the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide incentives for farmers and private investors in the value chain.
KanyiDaily recalls three months ago, President Buhari ordered the CBN ”not to issue a kobo” for the importation of food items and fertilizer.