Federal government Wednesday said it has plans to stop the importation of rice in the next two years, however stating that the policy would not be enforced until it has developed local industries to produce maximally for local consumption. The plan was communicated to State House Correspondents by Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari after a joint meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and permanent secretaries of federal ministries at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Yari stated that with the emerging political will power of the present government and the availability of arable land, Nigeria can sustain itself with rice production. He regretted that so much money had gone into rice importation which he said could be produced locally. “The meeting was on the new policy on agriculture and food sustainability. We discussed how we can boost rice production in Nigeria and start thinking about how we are going to put policy in place on how rice importation will be banned in the country. We have the potential. We have the human resources. We have the arable land to grow rice. In the next two years, we will not need to bring rice from outside Nigeria. We are going to ban it. It is only in Nigeria, a country of millions of people, that there is no food security. We discussed the policy with the relevant permanent secretaries and CBN governor.
“The policy is going to be in place and we gave our commitment that we are ready to support the government policy in ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in food production in the next two years. Nigeria is currently a major importer of rice. Now, the political will is in place to stop it. We in about nine states are going to be seriously engaged in massive rice production. We are hoping that in the next two years, rice importation into Nigeria will be banned. We are committed and the political will is in place”, Governir Yari said.