• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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FG finalises arrangement for 100 rice mills

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The Federal Government has finalised arrangement to facilitate the establishment of 100 rice mills across the country.

Akinwunmi Adesina, minister of agriculture, disclosed while addressing newsmen after a tour of rice farms in Kebbi and Zamfara states to monitor the dry season rice farming initiative of the government.

He said the agriculture ministry was working with the Federal Ministry of Finance in the project, adding that the government was negotiating with the China Exim Bank for a loan at 2.5 percent interest rate with a 10-year moratorium.

He said the rice mills would be owned by the private sector, saying that with the mills in place, the issue of market failure for rice farmers in the country would be addressed, and besides the rice mills, the government was also making effort to get 18 large-scale integrated mills for cassava established.

Earlier at the Argungu Rice Farm in Kebbi State, Adesina said the Federal Government registered 75,000 farmers in Kebbi in 2012 and that this year the government had registered another 70,000 farmers in the state.

He said in 2012 the Federal Government distributed 92,000 bags of fertiliser to farmers in Kebbi State through the electronic wallet system, adding that this year, through the same system, the government had also reached 46,000 farmers in the state. He commended the governor of Kebbi State, Usman Dakingari for the effort he had made in keying into the agriculture initiative of the Federal Government, noting that from what he had seen, it was possible for Nigeria to attain self-sufficiency in rice by 2015.

Dakingari had earlier said there were 302 farmers’ associations in Argungu, adding that 75 percent of them were youths.

The governor said the constraint was that the farmers use water pumps that require fuel for irrigation, saying that the state government would prefer the use of water driven by gravity for irrigation.