11 December 2012

Nigeria: FG to Ban Rice Importation Soon, Says Minister

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, on Tuesday in Makurdi, said the Federal Government would soon ban importation of rice into the country.

Adesina made the statement at the opening ceremony of a three -day summit and exhibition, organised by Africa Farming Project (AFP) for Northern Nigeria.

The minister said the ban would be enforced within the next four years because Nigerian farmers would be producing more than enough rice that could effectively cater for the needs of Nigerians.

The minister, who was represented at the occasion by Dr Sunday Edibo, the Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, North Central Region, stated that the surplus would be sold to other countries.

He stated that importing food stuff into the country did not speak well of a country like Nigeria.

Adesina said this was because Nigeria had been featuring prominently in the world market as a result of agriculture boom in the 1960s and early '70s.

"The trend of importation of food stuff in the country, especially rice must be reversed by all means," he said.

He urged Nigerians not to believe the speculation that there would be severe famine in 2013 as a result of the recent flood disaster.

Adesina said the Federal Government had made adequate preparations to tackle food crisis of whatever magnitude.

The minister said there would be enough food in 2013 as food items were stored in silos across the country.

Adesina said the flood only affected small portions of farm lands with marginal effect on food production in the country.

He said that the disaster mostly affected residential buildings and public organisations.

The President, Aquaculture Fish Farming Development Association, Alhaji Murtala Agboola, appealed to the Benue Government to build a fish farming estate for fish farmers in the state.

Agboola, who was the chairman of the occasion, stressed that the gesture would go a long way in boosting aquaculture in the state and beyond.

Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the AFP, Mr Bright Okwu, said that after the summit, 500 farmers in the state would be randomly selected by the association and given support to boost agricultural production in the state.

In his goodwill message, the Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, Mr Aondona Kuhe, advised farmers participating in the summit to acquire skills that would assist them to be abreast of innovations in agriculture.

He said the programme would also assist them to improve on their income. NAN

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