As part of efforts towards achieving self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018, the Federal Government says it is facilitating the procurement of additional 40 large-scale rice mills.
Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh disclosed this in Abuja Thursday at a workshop themed “Big Boost for Agro Diversification and Export.’’
Ogbeh noted that the Integrated Rice Mills (IRMs) of the ministry had increased the rice milling capacity in the country.
He said the ministry’s next goal is to attain self-sufficiency in food production. The ministry is also aiming at an annual export of 10 million metric tonnes of food to ECOWAS region and beyond by 2019.
According to the minister, the country’s food import bill has further declined from N1.1 trillion in 2009 to N684 billion in 2013.
“Nigeria has huge agricultural potentials with 11 million hectares of arable land, but only cultivates 40 per cent; 263 billion cubic metres of water with two of the largest rivers in Africa.
“We have a cheap labour force to support agriculture intensification. We grow our food, feed ourselves and create local and international markets for our farmers and also unlock our enormous potentials in agriculture.
“We can achieve the economic diversification goal of government and surmount the present economic recession.
“I hope with the help of the Pentair, Good Rain, Dayu irrigation, Zhong Zhou Poultry, Jinan and our local companies, we will diversify and get out of recession in no time,’’ Ogbeh said.