Minister faults US agency reports on rice importation

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Monday described a statement credited to the United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade Report, which said Nigeria imported more rice into the country this year, as fake.

Speaking during a Special Town Hall Meeting on Agriculture in Dutse, Jigawa State, the minister also said rice exporting nations of the world would not commend Nigeria on its resolve to increase its local rice production and significantly reduce importation of rice into the country.

At the meeting were the Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Abubakar; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; and the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar; Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi; and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

Mohammed said, “Please permit me to alert Nigerians to the reality out there. In pursuing our agricultural revolution, which will ultimately lead to self-sufficiency in the national staples, we should not expect accolades and support from outside, especially from countries that have hitherto been the main exporters of food items such as rice to Nigeria.

“Every nation pursues its national interest, and it is definitely not in their interest for Nigeria to produce what it consumes because it means you will no longer import from such countries.

It is in that context that Nigerians should see the recent fake news that Nigeria imported 400,000 metric tonnes more than the quantity of rice imported in 2017.

“The report, quoting the 2018 United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade Report, also posited that Nigeria’s local rice production is dropping. When the figures were challenged, they could not provide any empirical ground for the report.”
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