The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said on Friday that the ministry had set 2015 as the target date for the country to become self-sufficient in rice production.
Adesina said this in Asaba in a paper entitled “Agriculture: “The Value Chain Road Map,” which he presented at the ongoing 9th All Nigeria Editors conference.
The minister said that to achieve this, there was the need for an additional annual production of 3.2 million tonnes of rice.
Consequently, he said, the Federal Government had focused on accelerated production of local paddy rice in 10 northern states of Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Kastina and Gombe.
He said that 26,500 farmers had been reached via the e-Wallet electronic distribution of inputs and seeds and that they received high yielding varieties of rice.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inputs (fertilisers) and seeds were distributed under the Federal Government’s Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme, the flagship programme of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).
According to the minister, local farmers produced 1.1 million tonnes in 2012, which he said, amounted to one-third of what was needed to meet national target.
Adesina said that more than 467,000 jobs had been created in the rice sub-sector, resulting in N37 billion additional income to farmers.
He said that with the achievement of self-sufficiency in rice production, the country would become a net exporter of rice to neighbouring countries.
“Well-packaged long-grained parboiled rice from Kano, Ebonyi and Benue States are in the market. They are tastier and healthier than the imported rice,” he said.
Photo credits: USAID