President Muhammadu Buhari has said that over 12.2 million farmers have joined the rice and wheat revolution and that soon, Nigeria would attain self-sufficiency in the production of major grains.
Represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the 25th edition of the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA) ceremony in Lagos, Buhari, revealed that the agricultural revolution has become so successful that it has produced thousands of millionaire rice farmers while reducing rice importation.
Noting that his government has recorded considerable progress in the fight against corruption and insurgency, he said the most remarkable progress has been in the area of agriculture where progress is being recorded steadily.
“Rice importation from Thailand fell from 644,131 tons in September 2015 to 20,000 tons in September 2017, representing a 95 percent drop. Self-sufficiency in rice is so important because it is the most widely consumed staple in Nigeria, and also because Nigeria’s daily expenditure on rice for over three decades stood at $5 million a day,” he said.
President Buhari also outlined the achievements of his government in the production of other grains.
“Nigeria is now the second largest producer of sorghum after the U.S, the third in millet after India and our breweries are now enjoying local sourcing of those commodities. For maize, we are producing 10 million tons while we need about 13 million tons for both human and animal nutrition,” he said.
He stated that Nigeria leads the world in the yam and cassava production and that government is working to restore Nigeria’s position in cocoa production.
“We are also investing in a new line of tree crops targeting local and foreign end users and certain to earn foreign exchange. These are Shea butter, palm trees, coconut, mangoes, bananas and plantains, kenaf and sisal hemp, castor and pineapple, among others. Overall, our ambition is that agriculture should rise from 25 percent to 40 percent of GDP so that we can banish poverty and overcome our economic anxiety,” the president said.
He commended the NMMA for instituting the awards, adding that Nigeria’s media deserves recognition.