Nigeria plans to ban rice importation in 2015.
The Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, has said that the Federal Government will provide subsidy for rice farmers in Kebbi to improve commercial production of the crop.
Mr. Adesina made the statement in Suru Local Government Area on Tuesday when he launched the new Kebbi Guarantee Minimum Cost of Rice scheme.
The minister was on a one-day inspection visit to rice farms in Argungu, Suru and Jega local government areas.
He said the ministry would transport free rice from the farm clusters to warehouses and processing centres, adding that the official cost of rice was N6,500 per bag under the scheme.
He reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to ban the importation of rice by 2015.
Mr. Adesina said President Goodluck Jonathan was committed to transforming agriculture and ensure self-reliance in food production. He said the Federal Government spent N1 billion on the importation of rice but stressed: “we cannot keep foreign farmers employed while our farmers and potential in rice production are ignored.”
He commended the efforts made by the state toward achieving the Agricultural Transformation Agenda aimed at producing 20 million tonnes of rice for domestic consumption in 2015.
“The Federal Government would support fully the efforts by the state on rice production,” he promised.
Mr. Adesina said the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) in the state included the construction of silos which had capacity to hold 100,000 tonnes of produce as well as two one-stop shops in Dakingari and Argungu.
He said 70,000 out of the targeted 80,000 farmers had been registered in the state.
He said the release of 92,000 bags of fertiliser to farmers, 480 tonnes of seedlings and distribution of 1,500 bundles of planting materials would be upgraded. He said 700 tonnes of rice seedlings provided in the past as part of the GES would also be upgraded.
Governor Saidu Dakingari said the state government would sustain its priority on the commercial production of rice, especially during the dry season, to avoid the destruction of the crop during the rainy season.
The governor said the rice production initiative was part of efforts by the government to ensure security through job creation and also increase the income of farmers.
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