‘Nigerians consume 15-year old imported rice’


• Fed Govt laments tomato paste import from China, Italy

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has decried the consumption of 15 years old rice being imported into the country from Indonesia and other major rice producing countries.
Adesina who pleaded for the consumption of local staple foods, especially rice, said the country had taken a step backward from being the largest rice importer, to replace China.

He said Nigeria through the adoption of new technology and effective implementation of good policies, would be capable of being self sufficient in rice production by 2015.

Adesina, who spoke at the inauguration of 13 Board Chairmen of the Ministry’s Institutes, Agencies and Parastatals, said that between 2012 and 2013, local farmers were able to produce over 1.7 million metric tons of paddy rice, which according to him, was about 50 percent of what the country needed to be independent in producing the commodity.

He said: “Well-packaged, long grain parboiled local rice is now on the market. It is tastier and healthier than the 15 year-old imported rice dumped on the Nigerian market. We will soon be free from rice imports!”
According to him, about 14 large-scale integrated rice mills have been established by private sectors within two years, where quality long-grained local parboiled rice was being produced.

However, the Minister decried the country’s huge tomato paste import from China and Italy. He described the trend as unacceptable stressing that about 45 percent of tomato planted in Kano accounts for post harvest loses.
He restated that the federal government Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) was not a ‘political slogan’ but a developmental approach to pull the nation out of poverty and food imports.

“Nigeria has great people with great potential therefore we have no business importing foods. Potential is good but nobody eats potential, we need to make it work,” he added.
Speaking on the inauguration, Adesina reminded the chairmen and their members of their duties to solely advise and ensure rancour free management of the institutes.

He said it would not be business as usual, adding that it would not be the duty of the board to engage in daily administration of the research institutes but to support them and the present administration to achieve its development agenda on the agric sector.



The nation
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