Food Security: Nigeria Rice production requires 500,000 MT to meet 7m MT capacity

*The Nigerian Government states the country would soon close rice production gap and meet the seven million metric tonnes production capacity required to attain self-sufficiency

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the country intensifies efforts at supporting rice farmers towards increasing rice production, the Federal Government has put the rice production gap in Nigeria at 500,000 metric tonnes.

Eno Olotu, Deputy Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, disclosed this in a statement issued Tuesday in Abuja, FCT.

The statement, however, revealed that the country would soon close the gap, and meet the seven million metric tonnes production capacity required to attain self-sufficiency.

Mrs. Karima Babangida, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Services (FDAE), was quoted to have said this while receiving inputs on behalf of the FMARD from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

JICA provided the inputs to support rice smallholders in nine states of the Federation in its first phase support to Nigeria.

The Director stressed that the support for rice farmers would scale up rice production in Nigeria.

It would enhance the harvest of the produce in this year’s farming season, said Mrs. Babangida.

With the support of JICA and other donor agencies, she said Nigeria would not only be self-sufficient in rice production but also would soon be a major exporter, being the largest producer of rice in Africa currently.

Nakagawa Takayuki, Chief Representative of JICA in Nigeria, also stated that the agency was providing agricultural inputs to 1,500 small scale rice farmers in Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi states for the dry season rice farming.

Takayuki said: “We also plan to provide the inputs to 1,000 small scale farmers in 10 states, namely, Borno, Gombe, Kogi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Ogun, Taraba and Oyo for the wet season farming”

The Chief Representative as well pledged JICA’s support to sustain its collaborative efforts with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in supporting extension service providers and small-scale farmers through capacity and infrastructural development.

ConsumerConnect recalls the country had stated in 2018, that it desired to attain self-sufficiency in local rice production by 2020.

The Federal Government stated that with sustained implementation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (APB) launched November 17, 2015, would achieve self-sufficiency in rice production by 2020.

Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, who gave the assurance at a media briefing April 2018, in Lagos, said “the country has never been closer to self-sufficiency in rice, a national staple, than now.

“This has been made possible by the purposeful leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has consistently said that this nation must produce what it consumes.’’

The minister recalled that the President launched the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to provide farm inputs in cash and kind to smallholder farmers to boost local production of commodities, including rice.

The programme also is aimed at stabilising inputs supply to agro processors and addressing the country’s negative balance of payments on food, said Mohammed at the time.

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