Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu has disclosed that rice production has risen from 5.7 to 17 million metric tonnes per annum in two and half years.
He made the disclosure to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa.
According to him ,eight new rice mills were commissioned last year which has increased rice production in the country.
He said ” He received report that today in Nigeria we are almost producing about 17 million metric tonnes of paddy per annum, up from as little as 5.7 million metric tonnes two and half years ago.
“The milling capacity has increased, eight new mills were commissioned last year alone with the installed milling capacity almost doubling.
“The Rice Distributors particularly that of Iddo, G-Cappa and Elko market in Lagos, came to show confidence in the programme of the federal government of Mr. President as encapsulated in his statement: “Let’s grow what we eat, and eat what we grow.”
“The Distributors confirmed that Nigerian rice is better, more nutritious than imported rice and they are willing to partner so that Nigerian rice will be the dominate rice in the country and indeed we should be able to be exporting.
When asked about rice farmers crying of imported rice flooding the market, he said “Yes of course. Yesterday the Economic Management Team discusses smuggling and today it was an important feature and it has been recognized.
“Everyone who knows Mr. President’s commitment to the Nigerian economy will appreciate his annoyance with smuggling and smugglers. But it is a collective responsibility and so we want all Nigerians to participate the menace in importing the commodities especially in rice.
“The narrative out there is wrong. Other countries are undertaking economic warfare on us, there is no nation in the world that can produce and sell to Nigeria freshly grown rice equivalent to what is produced in Nigeria at the prices that Nigeria farmers are selling.
“So, most of the prices of smuggled rice are discounted prices that reflect the age of that rice and in some aliases as identified by NAFDEC not fit for human consumption,” he stated.