From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
In order to further boost production, the Federal Government has approved N60 billion subsidy to support the rice industry.
Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this to State House correspondents after a meeting of the National Food Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Friday.
Joined by Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state, the minister explained that the purpose of the subsidy is to help bring down price of the commodity in the country.
His words: “There is a subsidy programme coming up. Government has approved some money N60 billion to support the rice industry to bring down prices. But we are going to handle it differently.
“We don’t want to get into petroleum subsidy problem. So, a committee is looking at it with the Ministry of Finance.
“We think that it is better for us to loan money to the millers, farmers and distributors at a very low interest rate, so that the capital doesn’t disappear, so they have cheaper credit to do their business that should impact on the price of rice in the market.
“When we are ready we will let you know.”
The minister spoke of plan to ban fertilizer NPK 151515 which has been in use in the country for many years, saying that the ban became imperative because it adds no value to crops.
He explained: “We call for the ban of fertilizer NPK 151515 which has been used in the country for many years but recent research revealed its not useful for any crop or any soil.