Nigeria: Nation Still Biggest Importer of Rice

Nigeria remains the biggest importer of rice buying about two million metric tons annually and relies on the importation of other food items, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said yesterday.

The minister was speaking at the national seminar on Agriculture Commodity Value Chain Development in Nigeria organized by the Agricultural and Rural Management Institute (ARMTI) where he called on Nigerians to patronize locally produced rice and work toward growing the sector.

The minister who was speaking on the importance of unlocking the potential of agriculture across all the value chains through improving production and processing, said Nigeria is supposed to be an exporting country because of its vast arable land that supports agriculture.

He said heavy importation of food is unhealthy for the country because it would drive farmers out of business, lead to dependence on other nations and destroy the economy.

“Government is providing free input to support our farmers and improve the production of rice, cassava, cocoa, oil palm and other crops that is why we would continually support the tariff of imported food items so that our farmers can compete in the markets,” he said.

Acting Executive Director of ARMTI, Samuel Afolayan, said the institute is working in with the federal government to develop the various value chains with the agriculture transformation agenda. He said ARMTI would provide basic information on commodity value chain development through research as well as contribute to policy development.

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