Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina has said the country could be a self-sustained rice producer with its rice farmers earning as much as $2 billion by 2015 as a result of rice value-chain development strategies currently being executed.
According to leading Nigerian newspaper, BusinessDay, the Minister while speaking in Abuja to Oxford Business Group (OBG), a global publishing research and consultancy firm, said: “Over the next five years, we plan to add 20 million tonnes of additional food to the domestic food supply to create 3.5 million jobs in the sector, and to replace up to 40 per cent of wheat flour imports with high-quality cassava flour.”
The agenda was necessary to curb the overdependence of the food-insecure west African nation on imported food costing nothing less than $1.3 billion annually, while creating jobs and generating economic growth simultaneously.
Adesina’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA). which includes improving public private partnership and facilitating competitiveness, has begun effecting positive developments in Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
The Minister commenting on this said: As a result, our private sector firms are growing and foreign direct investment is increasing.”
Also, poor Nigerian farmers have begun benefiting from the once corrupted and ineffective Federal Government fertilizer subsidy programme.
At the moment, Nigeria expends 1 billion naira ($6.3 million) daily on rice importation.