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July 29, 2011

Imports undermine Nigerian production of rice

by Valerie Anofochi

Akinwunmi Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has said the Nigeria’s over reliance on rice importation is impoverishing local farmers and the country’s economy.

"Nigerians are eating beyond their means,” he said. “While we all smile as we eat rice every day, Nigerian rice farmers cry as the imports undermine domestic production. This must stop. We must accelerate domestic rice production and improve on processing to meet quality standards. We must tap into all the resources of our farmers across the nation and deliver a green revolution for rice that will make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production.”

The minister noted with sadness that Nigeria used to be a force to reckon with in agricultural production.

"In those years, Nigeria accounted for over 60 per cent of the global supply of palm oil and 35 per cent of groundnut,” he said. “It also accounted for 23 per cent of groundnut oil and 15 per cent of cocoa."

Adesina vowed to lead Nigeria out of the gridlock it is witnessing in the agriculture sector. He said he would revolutionise and transform the sector into business that works and create wealth for small- scale and commercial farmers.

Daily Times

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