The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh on Friday in Dutse, Jigawa State capital, said the country would soon start exporting high quality rice.
Ogbeh stated this following a tour of rice farms in Auyo Local Government Area of Jigawa State.
The minister was in the company of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Rice and Wheat Production, who is also the Kebbi state Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar.
Ogbeh said, “When we told Nigerians about two months ago that in another one year, there will be no need for a grain of rice to be imported, some people did not believe us. But in Auyo, Jigawa state, you can see massive rice fields that can produce between 1.2 million metric tons and 1.5 million metric tons of rice.
“This is just one out of the 27 local government areas in Jigawa state. As such, every Nigerian will see season fresh rice to eat, not rice stored for seven years in silos abroad or in foreign countries.
“There is no better way of developing our rural people. There is no need for us to continue to import expired rice from other countries. When we initiated the programme, it was greeted with criticism. As you can see today, our farmers will be heroes and that is the change mantra the Buhari-led administration is determined to achieve.
“The governors are taking the lead by encouraging rice farmers in their respective states to embrace the cultivation and production of rice in commercial quantities. Nigeria will soon become a major rice exporter.”
In his remarks, Abubakar said Jigawa state plans to produce 1.5 to five million metric tons of rice within the next five years through farmers’ clusters training programme.