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FG fast tracks move on rice export from next year, procures 100 rice mills for states

At a time Nigerians are apparently puncturing the recent claims of the Minister of Agriculture and rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh that Nigeria will soon begin exportation of rice, the ministry has purchased 100 rice mills for distribution to rice-producing states in the country.

Whereas Nigeria is spending 5 million dollars daily on rice importation from Thailand, India and Vietnam, average price of a 50kg of local rice hovers around N15,000 as foreign brand remain at N18,500 depending on location.

Addressing rice farmers during a Twon hall meeting in Umuahia Monday, Ogbeh said the machines would also be sold to private millers at reduced rates, adding that the gesture was part of government’s interventions to boost local rice production.

He expressed delight that Nigeria now ranked second in rice production in the continent, adding that the money spent on importation could be put into infrastructure development.

Apart from rice, Ogbeh revealed government’s efforts to enhance the production of Cocoa and Cashew in the country. He said that the Federal Government would soon re-launch Cocoa production in three states of Abia, Ondo and Cross River, adding that new fertiliser for the commodity was being developed.

He said that Federal Government also planned to set up six major cashew-processing factories in the country in collaboration with the private sector, noting that Abia had potential for coconut production and urged the state to explore its great potential in agriculture to boost its internally generated revenue.

He said that the Anchor-Borrower Programme would be expanded to include the rice millers at the end of the restructuring. Also, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enalemah, said that the Federal Government was committed to the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for which Aba was known for.