Mr Abraham Odoom, Policy Advisor, Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) says Nigeria has the capacity to produce enough rice for consumption in the West African Sub-region.
Odoom stated this at the formal inauguration of the Nigerian Rice Policy Advocacy Platform in Kano, Kano State on Thursday.
He said based on empirical evidence on ground, two states in Nigeria could produce the required rice to feed the West African Sub-region without necessarily importing the commodity. He said Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings has been taking heavy toll due to importation of rice.
Odoom described Nigeria as a blessed nation with abundant arable land and water for massive production of rice.
He said with the appalling slump in oil prices, it would be absolutely necessary for the country to promote the importation of rice.
“The issue of unemployment can be effectively tackled if the much needed leverage is secured by indigenous farmers willing to prove their worth on rice production,” Odoom said.
He said CARI was ready to conduct its activity on rice production and rice value chain, based on research as a way of creating adequate awareness among farmers.
Odoom said that with the required indices taken into cognizance, the future of rice production in the state is bright.
Earlier in his remarks, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Nasir Gawuna, said the state government would continue to give special attention to agriculture to boost food production.
Gawuna was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Hajiya Binta Rabiu.
The commissioner said the state government had recently given Rice Farmers Association in the state N1billion soft loan to enhance rice production.