Nigeria Targets Sufficiency In Rice Production With Chinese Assistance


With the assistance of China, Nigeria plans to establish 100 mills, achieve 2.1 million metric tonnes of rice production and create millions of jobs in the next 18 months, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s minister of Agriculture told journalists on Wednesday.

The Minister was briefing journalist on the outcome of the recent trip of some members of the Federal Executive Council led by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to China.

Akinwumi said Nigeria has entered an agreement with China for the establishment of rice mills in various parts of the country.

Following the visit to China by top government officials recently, the Federal Government has sealed a deal to set up 100 rice mills across the country.

Adeshina who was part of the delegation to China told State House correspondents that the establishment of the mills will nudge Nigeria towards Federal Government’s aim of achieving self-sufficiency in rice production by 2015.

Nigeria currently imports 2.1 million metric tons of milled rice.

He added that an agreement has also been reached with the Chinese government and other investors on how to make low interest and highly concessionary long term financing required for the set up of the mills available to private investors.

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“We believe that in the next 12 to 18 months, you all will be able to go out, you will see the rice mills. You will see farmers organised into groups. This will generate millions of jobs for Nigerians and Nigeria will be able to basically end this menace that we have of continuously being dependent on imported rice,” said the Minister.

He added that Nigeria rice consumption is expected to rise from its present 5 million metric tons to at least 35 million metric tons by 2050 as a result of increased population.

To prepare for the increase Akiwumi said Nigeria has adopted the Chinese hybrid rice which gives yield of 12 tons per hectare. The Chinese, he added, have also found a way of doubling the yield to get up to 24 tons per hectare in a year.

“If we can get this hybrid rice in Nigeria to work for us at such scale, we will be there. We will be sure of food security not just today but for the future.

“We are already testing the high breed rice in Kebbi State and we are getting 8 tons per hectare and we are still going to test it across the entire country,” he said.

On cassava production, Akinwumi said 18 large scale high quality cassava processing plants that will process 1.3 million metric tons of high quality cassava flour will be set up in the country.

This, he said, will automatically make Nigeria the largest processor of high quality cassava flower in the world.

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