Border Drill, Boost for Rice Production, Self-Sufficiency – FG

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said

the ongoing border drill that has largely curbed foreign rice

smuggling into Nigeria has boosted rice production while fast-tracking

the country’s quest to achieve rice self-sufficiency

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The Minister stated this at a press conference he addressed after

leading a media tour of integrated rice mills and rice clusters in

Kano on Thursday.


Quoting statistics from the Rice Millers Association, he said over

200,000 bags of rice were occupying spaces in the warehouses of

virtually every integrated rice miller before the border drill started

in August, while many small scale rice holders or rice clusters had to

abandon their small scale but valuable means of livelihood.


Alhaji Mohammed said farmers were even worst hit since the integrated

rice millers, who were the off-takers, were already struggling to save

their businesses by laying off staff and finding other means to pay

off their bank loans with mounting interest rates, hence were finding

it hard to buy paddies from rice farmers.


“But the story changed in August this year, when the border drill

drastically reduced smuggled rice, thus giving the entire rice

production value chain a new lease of life. Gentlemen, within one week

of the drill, every integrated rice miller exhausted the milled rice

in their warehouses, recalled the staff that were laid off and resumed

production. All the existing 34 rice mills that we have in the country

are now producing at maximum capacity, 24 hours a day,” he said.


The Minister said currently, the integrated mills produce about

150,000 bags of rice every day, translating to over 35 million bags

annually, adding that the 34 mills are expanding rapidly in order to

increase capacity and meet the rising demands, while the small scale

rice clusters in all parts of the country are now back on stream and

feeding their local communities,


He said Nigeria’s quest to achieve self sufficiency in rice production

will be quickened by the increasing activities in the rice production

value chain resulting from the border drill in four of the country’s

six geo-political zones.


”Achieving self sufficiency in rice production will also translate to

more jobs for millions of our people as well as cheaper and more

nutritious rice for all. I want to congratulate everyone in the value

chain for cashing in on the opportunities provided by the border

drill, which – like i said – has drastically reduced rice smuggling to

the country,” Alhaji Mohammed said.


He said the 12.2 million rice farmers in Nigeria, who were cultivating

rice twice a year, have now started three-times-a-year cultivation in

order to meet the increasing demand.


“This is phenomenal. Not only that, at least 6 million people, mostly

youths, are now venturing into rice production, meaning that we could

hit 18 million rice farmers in no time if the present trend continues.

This is a positive fallout of the border drill. Also, some farmers are

now going beyond rice farming and venturing into buying rice paddies

and even packaging and marketing,” the Minister said


Earlier, the Federal Government delegation, which include the Minister

of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, rice farmers

and millers as well as officials of the Nigeria Customs Service, had

visited the Al-Hamsad Rice Mill, Kura Brothers Rice Mill, Tiamin Rice

Ltd And Umza International Farms, all in Kano, to ascertain how they

have been grappling with the rising demand for rice in the country.


Alhaji Mohammed later led the delegation on a courtesy visit to the

Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, at the Government

House, where he told the Governor that Kano was chosen for the tour

because if hosts 11 of the country’s integrated rice mills as well as

20 rice clusters.


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