FG to procure 40 rice mills

As part of efforts to reach self sufficiency in rice production by 2018, the federal government has said it is facilitating the procurement of additional 40 large-scale rice mills towards the meeting the target.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Devel­opment, disclosed this in Abu­ja on Thursday at a workshop themed “Big Boost for Agro Di­versification and Export.’’
Ogbeh said that the Integrated Rice Mills (IRMs) of the Minis­try had increased the rice milling capacity in the country.
He said that the Ministry’s new goal was to attain self-suf­ficiency in food production and annually export 10 million met­ric tonnes of food to ECOW­AS region and beyond by 2019. According to the minister, the country’s food import bill has further declined from N1.1 tril­lion in 2009 to N684 billion in 2013.
“Nigeria has huge agricultural potentials with 11 million hect­ares of arable land but only culti­vates 40 per cent; 263 billion cu­bic metres of water with two of the largest rivers in Africa.
“We have a cheap labour force to support agriculture intensifi­cation. We grow our food, feed ourselves and create local and international markets for our farmers and also unlock our enormous potentials in agricul­ture.
“We can achieve the econom­ic diversification goal of govern­ment and surmount the present economic recession.
“I hope with the help of the Pentair, Good Rain, Dayu irri­gation, Zhong Zhou Poultry, Ji­nan and our local companies, we will diversify and get out of re­cession in no time,’’ Ogbeh said.
Don Ekesiobi, Managing Di­rector, Eurobase Nigeria Limit­ed, the workshop organiser, said his company and the Ministry of Agriculture brought to Nigeria six world leading agro compa­nies for partnership.
Ekesiobi said that the compa­nies would introduce and show­case for adoption, technologies to turn around neglected agro value chain of the country in six months.
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