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By Jonathan Isaiah
February 21, 2017

ogbeh rice farm 300x225Thirty two states in the country have keyed into the federal government’s rice production programme aimed at ensuring self-sufficiency in the staple food.
Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, disclosed this yesterday, after a meeting of the Presidential Taskforce on Rice and Wheat Production, chaired by acting president Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, yesterday.
He also disclosed that compared to last year, 11 states had now joined in wheat production, in line with the federal government’s directive on self-sufficiency in rice and wheat.
The governor, who addressed journalists at the end of the meeting, said the governors met with the acting president to review factors militating against self-sufficiency in those food crops.
Recall that the federal government had in June 2016, put in place measures to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice and wheat and step up current efforts to produce those commodities in the country.
“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 chain.”
On claims that Nigeria was now the second largest producer of rice in the world, he said though he did not have the data, appreciable progress had been made.
‘‘I don’t have that data but I know that our farmers have responded and all parts of Nigeria, about 32 states have plans of increased production.”
Bagudu said the meeting reviewed the rice and wheat programme and 11 states were now into wheat production compared to five in 2016.
“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,” he said.
On where Nigeria was in terms of wheat production currently, the Kebbi governor 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 quite significant as well. So we believe that with the sustained trajectory that we are seeing, we will be able to achieve our self-sufficiency.”
Those in attendance were the 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 Emefiele were also in attendance.
Other members of the presidential taskforce are the president of Wheat Farmers Association and President of the Rice Farmers Association.
http://www.leadership.ng/news/573009/to-increase-rice-production-32-states-key-into-fgs-programme

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