NIGERIA – The Presidency yesterday met with governors of some rice-producing states concerning a new policy on agriculture and food sustainability with a view to banning importation of rice into Nigeria in the next two years.
The meeting was chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, and was also attended by permanent secretaries of relevant ministries and governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Zamfara state governor and chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, on behalf of his colleagues explained the outcome of the meeting to State House correspondents.
According to him: “we discussed how we can boost rice production in Nigeria and start thinking about how we are going to put policy in place on how rice importation will be banned in the country.
“We have the potential; we have the human resources; we have the arable land to grow rice.
“In the next two years, we will not need to bring rice from outside Nigeria. We are going to ban it. It is only in Nigeria, a country of millions of people, that there is no food security.
“The policy is going to be in place and we gave our commitment that we are ready to support the government policy in ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in food production in the next two years.”
When reminded of similar statements from other government officials in the past, Yari replied that the political will of the present administration would make the difference.
His words: “Nigeria is currently a major importer of rice. Now, the political will is in place to stop it. We in about nine states are going to be seriously engaged in massive rice production.
“We are hoping that in the next two years, rice importation into Nigeria will be banned. We are committed and the political will is in place.”