In further efforts towards self sufficiency in Nigeria, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday met with the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production to look at factors mitigating
against the target.
Nigeria, the world’s second largest importer of rice in 2015 set out to achieve self sufficiency in rice by 2018-2019.
A Task Force chaired by the Kebbi state governor, Atiku Bagudu, was inaugurated last year June by the federal government to work towards achieving the target by seeing enhanced production of those commodities in the country.
Speaking to journalists at the State House at the end of the meeting which lasted for about five hours, the Kebbi state governor said the meeting reviewed the rice and wheat programme stating that compared to last year where only five states went into wheat production, 11 states have joined this year.
“This is the meeting of Presidential Task Force on Rice and wheat and we reviewed the wheat programme and what we can do more to support states in order to increase production of wheat. And to ensure that our farmers who have responded to the call are supported in terms of
getting good price for their output in order to sustain their interests.
“We reviewed where we are with rice production, the Acting President noted with satisfaction all the efforts by different stakeholders to attain sufficiency in the shortest possible time.
“The Acting President assured the meeting that the Federal Government will continue to support the drive towards self sufficiency in food security. He said the government out of necessity will support the farmers, the millers and other stakeholders involved in the value change” Bagudu said.
Asked to confirm that Nigeria was now the second largest producer of rice in the world, the Kebbi governor said he had no data to backup the claim but that the response has been good.
“I don’t have that data but I know that our farmers have responded and all parts of Nigeria, about 32 states have steak of increased production”.
On the process so far made on wheat production, Bagudu said, “I think we have done very well, we have remarkable increase in the number of states that have produced wheat from the last season. Last season we had about five states but today we are hearing reports from about 11 states and the increase in output per state is quiet significant as well. So we believe that with sustained trajectory that we are seeing we will be able to achieve our self sufficiency”, he said.
Those in attendance were the state governors of Ebonyi, Dave Umahi, Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje, Kebbi, Abubakar Bagudu and Jigawa, Badaru Abubakar.
The Ministers of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Audu Ogbeh and Finance, Kemi Adeosun as well as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emiefele were also at the meeting.