The Federal Government has indicated that rice farms will be revitalized in the state of Anambra and other regions in order to boost the production of rice, create employment, and also improve the living standards of the citizens of the state and the region.
The Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon., has made this clear. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, in Omor and Umerum in Anambra State, during the evaluation of Federal Government Rice Farms / Mills.
Given the importance of rice as a staple in Nigeria, the Minister noted that measures are being taken by the Federal Government to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of rice, and this is evident in government policies to achieve food and nutrition stability, replace imports and foster inclusive economic growth across all sectors of the economy.
Providing farm inputs such as agrochemicals, organic fertilizers, knapsack sprayers, planting and harvesting equipment such as reapers, mini combine harvesters, threshers at a subsidized rate to increase productivity, Government Policy Initiatives in Agriculture and Rural Development helped to grow the rice sector.
The Minister added that these policies not only increased the quantity of rice produced annually but also helped to improve the quality of Nigeria’s milled rice to international standards through the provision of modern rice milling machines to small / medium-scale processors.
Nigeria’s rice consumption, however, is still higher than production, but government initiatives have increased the production of rice from 4.8 million metric tons of milled rice in 2015 to over 6 million metric tons by 2019 through numerous policies, with a huge reduction in the nation’s deficit. Hon. Hon! Mustapha Baba Shehuri clarified that, as the government continues to revitalize rice farmers, production is expected to increase.
“The Department has developed 23 Paddy Aggregation Centers nationwide to aggregate and store paddy,” Shehuri said. Under the public-private partnership agreement, the centers were granted to members of the Paddy Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN).
Similarly, new rice production and processing technologies will be disseminated directly through the capacity building of farmers and processors and in collaboration with international donor agencies such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the German International Cooperation (GIZ), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), etc.
He reiterated that the Ministry is currently responding to the food availability challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting national smallholder farmers with various inputs, including certified seeds of enhanced food crop varieties such as rice,