Reports from ongoing activities in rice production across the country have shown that the rice transformation agenda of the Federal Government is on course.
These findings from the field, according to a statement by Olukayode Oyeleye, special assistant on media to the minister of agriculture and rural development, show that by 2015 ending, about 3.23 million metric tons of paddy rice to give over 2 million metric tons of milled rice would be produced.
Oyeleye says “that means we would have achieved our goal, which is to replace 2.1 million metric tons we import, in just two years. The rice transformation action plan has set a goal of gradual substitution of imported rice with locally produced, high quality, long grain parboiled rice, reaching 100 percent substitution by 2015.”
He adds: “To make this achievable, the Federal Government, for the first time ever, has embarked on support for dry season rice production in the North, an initiative that is receiving unprecedented response from the farmers, who are rushing to rice production, as a result. In Kogi, for instance, the state government, adopting the Federal Government’s intervention, is engaging 3,000 youth in rice production.”
He re-affirms the fact that the build-up to achieving the set target is not left to chance, saying Akinwumi Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development, within the context of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, in mid 2011, took bold steps by ending government procurement and distribution of fertilisers and seeds, replacing it with private sector direct supply to farmers.”
He also notes the definite moves made to increase inputs such as seeds, financing to farmers, and processing mills as measures that are taken to get these positive results.