Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has announced that Nigeria will stop the Importation of rice by December as the country has started large scale production of rice. He made this announcement during his courtesy visit to the Osun state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in his office at Osogbo.
He said the goal of the visit was to strengthen the existing relationship between the Osun State Government and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture on the need to achieve better agricultural productivity.
According to Ogbeh, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has been restructured to meet the nation’s needs on food production so as to bring an end to all forms of food importation. Nigeria is still spending billions of dollars on food importation. He further said that Nigeria spends about five million dollars on importation of rice daily and solicited the maximum collaboration and partnership between and among the various authorities to improve agriculture in Nigeria.
He also said “We have no choice in this country now but to go back to the farm and begin to cultivate it so as to be able to free ourselves and the land from poverty because oil and gas can no longer do it.”
What are the benefits of the ban of rice importation?
• The ban of rice importation will help to reduce the money Nigeria spends on importation thus leading to economic growth.
• There will be an increase in the productivity of farmers in Nigeria.
• This increased productivity will thus lead to more employment opportunities for Nigerians.
• The ban of rice importation will help to curb the inflow of substandard rice especially the deadly plastic rice.
Even as the ban of rice importation will benefit Nigeria, it is still not certain if there are any plans by the government to improve the quality of the local rice as most people prefer to use the foreign rice to cook Jollof rice and Fried rice.
There is likely to be a significant rise in the prices of foreign rice in Nigeria even more as we are gradually approaching the festive season.