The Nigerian Rice Investors’ Group has said that the rice import quota policy of the federal government would ensure self-sufficiency in rice production in the country.
The group also stated that the import quota allocation given to rice investors went to importers with verifiable local investments in rice production, contrary to claims that it was wrongly allocated.
National President of the Nigerian Rice Investors group, Mr. Tunde Owoeye, in a joint press briefing weekend in Abuja, noted that the rice policy of the present administration is feasible and visible.
According to him, the import quota was being allocated to the right people with verifiable investments in rice production in the country.
“We have seen some of our members who were pure traders make huge investment in local rice production. We also have seen serious increase in employment and value creation in the rice sector,” he said.
Owoeye added that the federal government provided rice investors with improved seedlings, for which reason rice production is getting better. “If you travel through Zamfara, Niger, Benue, Sokoto and many other states in the country, you will see vast plantations of rice in the last two years,” he said.
Also at the briefing, Secretary of Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) and former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) stated that the rice quota allocations were directed to wrong hands prior to the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The truth is that many have wished the old system where some highly connected people influence rice quota allocation, this administration made sure it went to rice farmers with visible investments,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National President, Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors’ Association of Nigeria (RMIDAN), Abubakar Mohammed, observed that there was only one processing mill in the whole of Nigeria in the last five years, and the number has increased to 24 mills by 2014.
“We process 800,000 tonnes of paddy rice annually and the government is putting measures in place to produce additional 360,000 tonnes. All these happened by the help of President Goodluck Jonathan and the minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina,” Abubakar stated.