Business in Ghana

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We’ve Achieved 85% Self-Sufficiency In Rice Production Says Nigeria

Posted by Business in Ghana on May 17, 2014

BY NIYI ODEBODE AND OKECHUKWU NNODIM

Nigeria is currently between 80 and 85 per cent self-sufficient in the production of paddy rice.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, said the agricultural policy of the Federal Government had started yielding fruits.

He stated that as part of the transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, the government was transforming agriculture from a social service into a business.

According to him, the sector will be private-sector driven and investment-focused.

The minister said by 2015, the country would produce 20 million metric tonnes of food.

He stated that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had been decentralised as part of the transformation agenda.

Adesina said the ministry had offices in 36 states, and six zonal offices.

The minister further said that the administration had ended corruption in fertilizer and seed distribution and noted that seed companies in the country had increased from five in 2011 to 80.

The minister also disclosed that in 2012, 1.4 million metric tonnes of paddy rice was produced in Nigeria.

This, he said, increased to 2.9 million metric tonnes in 2013, adding that the government was determined to stop importation of rice in 2015.

Adesina added that as part of the transformation agenda, the country would change from net importer of rice to an exporter.

The minister said that rice mills in the country had increased from one to five.

“In 2013, we produced 2.9 million metric tonnes of paddy rice. In 2012, we produced 1.4million metric tonnes. Nigeria is now 80 to 85 per cent self-sufficient in paddy rice production,” he said.

The minister, had recently said that  the Federal Government and other  stakeholders were determined to reduce the  high foreign exchange of over N365bn being spent annually on rice importation.

Adesina had admitted that the amount of money the Federal Government was spending to make rice available to consumers might rise to $150bn (N23.4tn) annually by 2050 based on the projection of 36 million metric tonnes.

The minister, on Friday said the ministry had started registering fishermen, as it did for farmers.

According to him, in the next four years, the country will produce one million table size fish.

Adesina said 250,000 table size fish would be produced every year.

He stated, “We are also doing remarkably well in cocoa production. We are distributing 3.5 million high pod of cocoa to farmers free of charge, ”he stated.

According to him,  the cassava policy of the administration is yielding fruits. He said 28 bakeries in the country were using cassava flour.

“If we implement our policy on cassava, it will save us N240bn every year,” he added.

He also faulted reports that genetically modified crops were being grown in the country.

Adesina stated, “What we have in Nigeria is biotechnologically improved crops to raise yields for farmers and not genetically modified crops as being speculated.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has blamed high malnutrition rate in Africa on poor performance of agriculture.

It said agriculture, being the main source of livelihood for majority of the poor in Africa, had been treated as a development sector and a way to manage but not eliminate poverty.

Adesina said in a bid to reverse this trend, the Federal Government decided to adopt a plan where stakeholders would see agriculture as a money-making venture with government providing leadership and the private sector in the driving seat.

Adesina, in a statement from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated that malnutrition, especially the lack of essential minerals and vitamins posed a major challenge in most African countries.

According to him, it was estimated that 12 Africans die every minute as a result of hunger and malnutrition, adding that almost 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not eat well enough to be healthy.

The continent, Adesina said, had the highest prevalence of under-nourishment in the world afflicting almost one in four people, with 80 per cent of the world’s stunted children living in just 14 countries, of which eight are in Africa.

To address malnutrition in the continent, he noted that the FMARD in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health met with a large number of local and foreign investors, agribusinesses and international development organisations to form partnerships for the production of high energy nutritious foods in Africa.

The minister said the meeting, which was held alongside the World Economic Forum on Africa, was to drive further private sector engagements in agriculture.

This, he said, was in a bid to increase investments in the production of key crops that would significantly alleviate the rampant malnutrition in Africa as well as in the manufacturing of high energy nutritious foods.

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