The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, says Nigerian rice can compete favourably in the global market.
This is contained in a statement by the Director Information in the Ministry, Mr Theodore Ogaziechi, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday in Abuja.
Nanono, according to the statement, made the disclosure during a working visit to rice farms and mills of Stallion Group Limited, Popular Farms and Mill Limited – producers of Stallion rice in Kano.
The Minister said that Nigerian rice would compete favourably in the global market the moment exportation began.
“If we maintain this momentum in the next two years, we may export rice to other countries,” he said.
He announced that the ministry would convene a forum within the next four yeas for all stakeholders in the rice sub sector to dialogue on how to improve on seedlings, farm inputs among others.
The Minister lauded the Stallion Group for efforts towards improving rice production and creating jobs for Nigerians.
He urged other investors to key into Agribusiness because of its numerous financial benefits.
Nanono, however, lamented the high cost of rice, saying “I see no reason why a 50kg bag of rice should be sold for N17,000.
“The maximum processing expense is N2,000, making a total of N10,500; it is unpatriotic to sell a bag more than N14,000 to N15000.”
Earlier, the Managing Director, Popular Farms and Mill Limited, Mr Amit Kumar Rai, had stated that Stallion Group Popular Farms and Mills Limited had invested over 70million dollars to boost production of agriculture business, especially rice and sesame in Nigeria.
He said that the company operated the biggest rice mill in Kano with an annual installed capacity of 430,000 metric tonnes, adding that it had a consolidated capacity of 1.7 million metric tonnes.
He said “the group is investing also in additional milling facilities locally, in order to obtain self-sufficiency in rice production.
Rai pointed out that the company organised training and distribution of rice farming tools to out growers across the rice producing states in Nigeria as part of its dedicated services in the rice value chain initiative.
“About 20 per cent of these beneficiaries are women who diligently work alongside their male counterparts in the field to support their families.
“The group believes that focus on empowering communities leads to more progressive farmers and greater economic and social opportunities for households.
“It works through Public Private Partnership(PPP), with the Federal Government’s agriculture objectives to train small scale farmers.”
The statement said that the minister also visited Premier Seed Nigeria Limited and Value Seeds Limited, Zaria, Kaduna State, where he emphasised the overall goals of the policy principles of the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP).
He stated that it would concentrate on providing an enabling environment for stakeholders at the federal and state levels to play their distinctive roles.(NAN)