Abuja — Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said that rice farmers and processors in Nigeria have added about N750 billion to the Nigerian economy, with over N407 billion as their net incomes in the last three years.
Adesina, who stated this on Friday in Abuja at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Dangote Industries Limited for a $1billion investment in an integrated rice project, said about 360,000 jobs were also generated within this period.
According to him, Nigeria has been recording significant successes with its rice policy, which he said is directed at saving N365 billion annually, mostly directed at Nigerian rice farmers and rural communities.
"Over six million farmers now grow improved rice varieties that meet international standards. High quality and well-packaged Nigerian rice is now in the local market, including Quarra Rice, Umza Rice, Ebony Super Rice, Eko Rice, Mikap Rice, Ashi Rice, Queen of the Niger and Mama Pride.
"The expanded local rice production of the President's Transformation Agenda has added N750 billion to the Nigerian economy, with over N407 billion as net incomes to farmers and rice processors," Adesina said.
Meanwhile, the minister has also disclosed that Nigeria would soon adopt genetically modified varieties of cotton called BT cotton.
Adesina who made this known in Abuja when the Cotton Ginners Association visited him in his office, said, "Nigeria will have BT cotton because it increases yield, it has less infections and as such we do not need to use pesticides that are dangerous to our farmers' health."