Nigeria’s rice consumption is projected to reach 35 million tonnes by 2050, from five million tonnes currently, rising at the rate of 7 per cent yearly, due to population growth.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, who gave these statistics to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja also said that 500,000 tonnes of rice was being imported into the country annually.
He said that conscientious efforts were being made under the Agricultural Transformation Action plan (ATAP) to reduce rice importation to zero by 2013 and achieve 2.1 million tonnes local production over the next 12 months.
The minister said: “the country imports today 500,000 tonnes of brown rice which is imported into the country from other countries.
“Now our plan is by 2013 to reduce that down to zero; which means the 500,000 metric tonnes of rice would be produced by Nigeria.
“But our strategy is between now and 2015, that Nigeria would have totally replaced the 2.1 million tonnes of rice that we are currently importing.”
He expressed regret that past efforts by the Federal Government to put the local rice industry on a sound footing had not yielded the desired results.
He blamed the situation on the exploitative behaviour of foreign companies that got government funding to build rice milling plants, but instead engaged in importation.
Adesina told newsmen that the N10 billion rice Intervention Fund was intended to build 17 rice mills which never happened and neither did the MoU the ministry signed with the Stallion Group of Thailand achieve the desired results.
“The fact of the matter is that a lot of these companies have been making quite a lot of money importing brown rice into this country and with the impression that over time, they would build the rice mills and therefore process the rice locally.
“Unfortunately, that has not been happening, so the country continues to import a lot of rice from other countries.
“And I have said that I will not let that continue; as minister of agriculture, my job is to put farmers in Nigeria to work; it’s to create jobs, it’s to reduce foreign exchange on rice import.
“And to make sure whatever rice we are eating in Nigeria, is produced here; we have great rice, we have Ofada rice; we have Abakaliki rice; we have all kinds of rice in this country.
“So basically what am saying is that, Nigeria cannot just depend on foreign companies to mill its rice for it, Nigerian businessmen and businesswomen and business entrepreneurs are the ones that have to get into the business of rice.
“The government set aside N10 billion as rice Intervention Fund and it was supposed to have completed our 17 rice mills with that particular fund.
“Some of the same companies were the ones that got the money but they didn’t do it; why should they? They are making a kill importing rice into Nigeria; they will not invest in the rice mills so they didn’t”.
Adesina said that since his assumption of office, three rice mills had been completed, including the Ebonyi Rice Mill with the capacity to process 35,000 tonnes of rice, which would soon be commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The minister said the balance of N9.8 billion of the rice fund domiciled in the Bank of Industry would be re-advertised to attract serious private sector operators to participate in the development of the local rice industry.
“I’m happy to say that since I have been made minister, we have now completed three of those, the most recent which is going to be commissioned soon by Mr President, is the Ebonyi Rice Mill.
“The Ebonyi Rice Mills capacity is 35,000 metric tonnes of paddy, and the rice is fantastic I have tasted this rice, it’s fantastic rice there’s no way that rice from Thailand can beat this rice, it is very, very nutritious rice as well.
“We are going to re-advertise the utilisation of the balance of money; we still have about close to N9.8 billion or so in the Bank of Industry, to get the private sector that are serious about rice to come into rice business in Nigeria.
“In addition to that, we are working right now in Nigeria to give Nigeria the capacity to have milling capacity for 2.1 million metric tonnes.
“Bear in mind that is the total amount we import every year; so not only are we in the ministry in our rice transformation plan increasing production of rice; we are bringing in new areas into cultivation.”
Adesina said that the ministry was also collaborating with the Ministry of Water Resources to complete some dams and irrigation facilities to raise rice production level by expanding the use of new variety of rice.
Eradiri Faults NDDC Leadership Structure Wants Agric As Top Priority
The Special Adviser to the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Youths, Udens Eradiri, has faulted the leadership structure of the commission, saying it has not helped the cause of the Niger Delta in the last 25 years.
Describing the leadership structure of the NDDC as faulty, he said that the faulty leadership structure was the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for a forensic audit in the commission.
Eradiri who is the former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC)
disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents, last Friday, shortly on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, from Abuja.
He said the outcome of the forensic audit would be used to do a wholistic reorganisation of the organogram of the commission.
According to him, the wholistic review of the organogram of the NDDC will help in putting the leadership structure in order, and enable things to function properly.
“The leadership structure of NDDC in the past years had been faulty, and that was why the President said there should be forensic audit, which would be used to do a wholistic review of the organogram of NDDC, so that it can function properly.
“The new board is coming soon, but the whole process will pass through the National Assembly to be cleared”, Eradiri said.
On the achievement of the present NDDC management, the special adviser said that the Effiong Akwa led administration had recorded some landmark achievements compared to the last 25 years.
He said that the present interim management within two years completed and commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC, which had been left for over 25 years.
He also said that the completion of the East-West road project had intensified under the present management, adding that NDDC has also supported states on sanitation through donation of trucks.
Eradiri, however, admitted that the present interim management had not taken a firm stand on agricultural development even though it has been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“I believe that the only tool to use and get ourselves out of the quagmire we find ourselves is agriculture, and I think that the NDDC can design its own scheme on how to grow agriculture as a deliberate policy.
“This will bring change that will grow the region’s economy. We must talk about agricultural processing, and we can put palm oil into sachet, and even students can be buying them,” he said.
By: Corlins Walter
Nigeria Lost N851bn To Oil Theft, Sabotage – NEITI
Nigeria lost N851.84bn ($2.78bn) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said.
NEITI said this in its latest oil and gas industry audit report.
NEITI stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$ .
It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21 per cent from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.
Losses such as these are recorded by companies whose crude volumes are carried through pipelines easily compromised by saboteurs.
The report also stated that some oil terminals recorded no production. These included Aja operated by Bayelsa Oil, whose license was revoked by the government.
Others were Asaramatoru and Oyo managed by Prime and Allied/CAMAC who were reportedly inactive for the year.
Nigeria earned a total of N10.49tn ($34.22bn) from crude oil and gas sales. This was a marginal 4.88 per cent increase from 2018 revenues of N9.99tn ($32.63bn).
The total crude oil production recorded was 735.24 million barrels, a 4.87per cent increase from 701.10 million barrels reported in 2018.
A total of N2.145tn ($7.011bn) was the domestic sales proceeds in 2019 from 107.24 million barrels of crude oil. This was 0.36 per cent lower than the domestic crude sales of 107.63 million barrels in 2018.
Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies
Some residents in the 23 local government areas of Rivers State have urged the newly sworn-in council chairmen in the state to come up with good agricultural and developmental policies that will transform the grassroots.
They also urged the council boss to take pragmatic steps and actions towards tackling security challenges to encourage business activities thrive in their domains.
Some of the residents who spoke with The Tide at the weekend, noted that the local government administration in the state had not faired well in terms of real development in recent times, and urged the new council helmsmen to change the narratives.
A resident of Emohua Local Government Area, Mr Charles Amadi, noted that no real development had taken place in the area, lamenting the dearth of companies and small scale industries in the area.
He, therefore, called on the new chairman, Dr. Chidi Lyoid, not to solely depend on the monthly allocation, but to go all out to attract small scale companies to the area so as to create employment opportunities as well as generate revenue for the council.
He also urged the new chairman to invest in agriculture, especially farming and fishing.
On his part, Mr Ebenezer Otamiri who lives in Etche, urged the Etche council boss, Obinna Ayanwu, to consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure, especially by building more markets for the people, as well as initiate good agricultural policy to drive the economy of the area.
He also urged the council boss to tackle the issue of electricity and security in the area, saying electricity and security are key to the development of the area.
In his own charge, Mr Mene Geoffrey Dekaa who hails from Bori in Khana Local Government Area of the state, called on his new council chairman, Bariere Thomas, to show capacity and competence in the area of security.
He noted that the issue of security has left native imprint in the development of the area, saying many investors have left Bori, the headquarters of the council, for other places.
“Because of security challenges, many people have left Bori to build houses and invest in Nonwa- Tai, and Eleme.
“Areas like Kono-Boweeh communities are no go areas, as people there can hardly sleep. So if the chairman can work with government recognised traditional rulers and security agents, security issues will be tackled, and people’s confidence will be restored, and business activities will move on”, he said.
By: Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies
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