19th January, 2022
By Kingsley Okoye
The Nigerian Senate has passed and approved a bill seeking to establish the National Rice Development Council.
This followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at plenary on Wednesday.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC- Nasarawa), said that the bill sought to establish a Council that would lead to a comprehensive development of the rice sector.
According to him, it aimed at the organising of rice stakeholders to enhance the local production of rice in Nigeria.
He explained that the establishment of the Council would transform the activities of rice farmers, rice processors, millers, researchers, marketers and other important stakeholders across the entire rice value chain.
Such activities would be transformed particularly the clusters of smallholder rice farmers and small scale millers spread all over the country.
“Mr President and Distinguished Colleagues, with our natural comparative advantage in the area of rice production as a country, Nigeria should consider the need to put in place a National Rice Development Council.
“It should create a safe, comprehensive national rice development roadmap that will guide us not only into a regime of self-sufficiency in production but also for export purposes, employment generation and growth of our economy.
“The Nigerian rice industry exists in the abstract as there appears to be no form of coordination in the absence of a properly structured rallying point.
“Today, we have Paddy Rice Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN), Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and many more.
“This Bill seeks to establish that rallying point and a comprehensive National operational and governance structure for a complete rice value chain process.
Sen. Adamu added that the bill on its own merit would improve government efforts for efficient policy and regulatory framework for the Nigerian Rice Industry, promote enabling business and investment environments for Rice stakeholders
Also, the bill will support the growth of the Rice industry in Nigeria and in the sub-region and promote the sustainability of foreign exchange earnings put at about $2 billion dollars annually for rice-related importation to the country.
“It will provide the missing link between rice production and industrialisation, provide employment, reduce migration from rural to urban cities and enhance socio-economic activities all over the country.
“Few countries having Rice Council include Rice Council of Tanzania, U.S.A. Rice Council, Directorate of Rice Development (India), Rice Association of Thailand, among others,” Adamu said.