Nigeria generated N320bn as revenue from the production of rice in the last two years, the Federal Government has said.
It said local rice production also created 750,000 jobs for farmers and other persons during the period.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed these during the inauguration of the headquarters of the Nigerian Cassava Growers Association in Abuja.
Adesina stated that the production of rice in the country had increased in the past two years, adding that the development resulted in the establishment of rice pyramids by farmers in the North.
“A whooping N320bn is the gross revenue generated from the production of rice during this period. I will like to also state that about 750,000 jobs have been created from the production of rice for our farmers and for Nigerians,” he said.
According to the minister, Nigeria will be self sufficient in rice production in the next two years and will have no need to continue to import the commodity.
Adesina stated that the Federal Government was working hard to ensure that the country stopped the importation of rice, adding that “every time we import food, we export jobs and impoverish the farmers in our country.
“Poverty is not an industry; so, we don’t have to be growing it and this is why the President launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda three years ago to empower Nigerian farmers,” he added.
Adesina said the inauguration of the NCGA headquarters, its official buses, guest house and website were a testimony that agriculture was working in the country.
He urged Nigerians to always patronise foods produced by indigenous farmers such as rice, cassava bread and wheat.
“By buying products like the cassava bread and locally produced rice, you will be creating more jobs and providing revenue for our farmers. So, one major way you create jobs is when you patronise things that we produce in our country,” the minister said.
The National President, NCGA, Mr. Segun Adewumi, urged the government to shift its agricultural intervention programme from subsidies on fertiliser, herbicides and other inputs to the provision of financial assistance to the farmers.
“Funds used for subsidy can be used to mitigate interest on agricultural loans taken from the capital market by the Bank of Agriculture. This interest on agricultural loans should be dragged down to five per cent and below as obtainable in advanced countries of the world,” Adewumi said.