The Federal Government says Nigeria will become self-sufficient in rice production by then end of 2018. This was made known by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while addressing a gathering at The Platform, a yearly conference organized by the Christian Covenant Centre, in Lagos.
He stated “If all goes well, we should be producing our own rice by the end of 2018 and if we are able to do so, it means that the substantial part of our foreign exchange that we spend on importation of rice will be saved.”
Osinbajo explained at the event that the need to delve into rice production was a result of the government’s decision to focus on agriculture as part of its efforts to diversify the nation’s economy.
He said, “For us, focusing on agriculture was key as agriculture provides the whole agro-allied value chain and is clearly the fastest ways of creating jobs and lifting millions out of poverty.”
According to Osinbajo, considering the fact that majority of Nigerians are actually poor and subsistence farmers, the government decided to take this step in order to alleviate poverty. It will provide the indigents masses with the right inputs, especially seedlings, fertilizer, and equipment so that they can actually multiply their yield and make more money.
“So, through the CBN’s anchor borrowers programme, we were able to provide financing for almost 200,000 farmers in the first place and in almost all of the cases, local production has almost tripled,” he said.
The Vice President also said the Federal Government was working to improve the ease of doing business in the country.
He said the efforts were captured in four broad categories in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.