The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working hard to increase rice production in Nigeria from 3.4 million tonnes of paddy in 2007 to 13.27 million tons by 2018.
This is to meet the goal of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD).
Permanent Secretary of the ministry Mrs. Ibukun Odusofe stated this at the stakeholder's workshop on pilot initiative for improved rice seed sector in the CARD countries in Abuja.
The CARD was established in 2008 by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Growing Africa's Agriculture (AGRA) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) with the aim of doubling rice production in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2018.
Odusofe said Nigeria was happy to be included in the pilot phase of the initiative which involves 10 countries from Africa drawn from both Anglophone and Francophone countries.
The Technical Coordinator of the CARD Secretariat, Hiroki Watanabe, said stable and timely supply of quality seed is key to increasing rice production and productivity, adding that most CARD member countries identify seed sector as one of the top priorities to be tackled.
He said the overall objective of the Pilot Initiative for Improved Seed Development is to identify strategy for improving rice seed supply.
Earlier, Mr Ishiak Khalid of the Seeds Certification and Quality Control Department of the National Agricultural Seeds Council, said the strategic approaches towards the realisation of the project include presidential assent on the National Agricultural Seed Law, upgrading of available seed testing laboratories to meet international standards, consistency in agricultural policies, increase in the annual budget of seeds to meet the growing demand for seeds and among them timely release of budgetary provisions etc.