President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said Nigeria would be self-sufficient in the production of rice, millet, sorghum, maize and soybean by 2019.
Mr. Buhari said this in a broadcast on the occasion of Nigeria’s 56th Independence Anniversary in Abuja.
The president said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had been mobilised to achieve the target through the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
He said through the scheme, production of staple crops was on the increase in 13 states. He said Kebbi alone was expected to produce 1 million tonnes of rice in 2016.
The president said Nigeria spent $2 billion on rice importation. He stressed the need for the country to be self-sufficient in staple crop production.
He said the foreign exchange that would be saved could be used for industrial revival, importation of essential raw materials and spare parts.
The president said in recognition of the need to reinvigorate agriculture in rural communities, government was introducing a scheme called “Life Programme” to boost rural economy.
He said the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would build lakes, dams and water harvesting scheme across the country.
According to him, the government recognises that irrigation is key to modern agriculture and is determine to ensure that we are no longer dependent on rain-fed agriculture for national food requirement.
Mr. Buhari said the government was reviving the 12 River Basin Authorities across the country to commercialise them to support crop production, aqua culture and accelerated rural development.
He said the government was also committed to the revival of Lake Chad and the improvement of the hydrology and ecology of the basin. (NAN)