Saved $5.49bn from cut in rice import in three years
From: AgroNature Admin
Nigeria now rank Africa’s largest maize producer, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said.
Ogbeh disclosed this in Abuja while speaking on the achievements of the sector in the last three years.
Nigeria also produces 70 per cent of maize seeds in the West African Region.
Quoting from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), he said the nation currently produce 10 million tones of the farm produce which also serve as raw material for animal feed.
Aside, he emphasised on the nation’s exploit in the production of Sorghum, Millet as well as Yam, adding that the Federal Government has saved $5.49 billion from 2015 till date due to increase in paddy production and drop in daily rice import.
“Today Nigeria is the largest producer of maize in Africa, 10 million tones and this is according to the IITA, we are the second largest producing in sorghum and the third in Millet, we are still leaders in yam way above everybody else because nearly 66% of all the yam in the world are grown here and we are now putting a foot in the international trade in yams…. We also leaders in cassava but we are not doing well enough in cassava processing and value addition and we are number 4 in cashew nuts out of which we earned $700 million this year,” he said.
He said Nigeria’s rice paddy production significantly increased thereby leading to the reduction in rice importation by 95 per cent in the last three years.
The Minister said: “We have reduced the quantity of rice coming in through our ports by 95 per cent which amounts to saving of about 5 million dollars a day and all this happened between December 2015 and now.”
According to him, Nigeria is currently producing 5.8 million to 6 million tonnes of paddy rice and the number of paddy farmers in the country has risen from 5 million to 12.2 million and by the end of this planting season the number will increase to 9 million tons per annum by 2019.
“We are between 5.8-6 million tonnes of paddy rice, the number of farmers growing paddy has risen from 5 million to 12.2 million, more are coming in as we clear more lands for them and arrange irrigation facilities, by the end of this farming season we should be approaching 8 million tons of paddy which will give us roughly 6.5 million tons of processed rice and we hope that by this time next year we should be targeting 9 million tons of paddy… but irrigation has to come on board because as long as we depend on rain-fed agriculture we will have difficulties achieving that target,” he added.
Ogbeh said that there are 27 large scale rice mills and well over 5,000 small-scale rice mills presently in the country processing rice to international standard.