Audu Ogbeh, Agriculture minister
– Rice is a major food in Nigeria but its price is so high that the citizens of the country can hardly afford to buy it
– This has also been a major concern for the federal government that is putting in place measures to flood the country with rice.
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is already facilitating the procurement of additional 40 large-scale rice mills, Chief Audu Ogbeh, the agriculture minister, has revealed. According to the minister, this move will help the country to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018.
Vanguard reports that while speaking in Abuja on Thursday, November, 10 at a workshop themed: ‘Big Boost for Agro Diversification and Export’, the minister said the Integrated Rice Mills (IRMs) of the ministry had increased the rice milling capacity in the country.
The report quoted the minister as saying government’s new goal was to attain self-sufficiency in food production and even export 10 million metric tonnes of food to other ECOWAS countries and beyond by 2019.
Stating that the country’s food import bill has now declined from N1.1 trillion in 2009 to N684 billion in 2013, Ogbeh said: “Nigeria has huge agricultural potentials with 11 million hectares of arable land but only cultivates 40 per cent; 263 billion cubic metres of water with two of the largest rivers in Africa.