The Federal Government has said that the present administration is targeting an annual production of Seven million tonnes of staple rice with the new technology of rice production from the year 2017.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh dropped the hint during his meeting with a delegation from the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), led by its Chief Representative, Nakamura Hirotaka in his office.
He lauded the Rice Post- Harvest Processing and Marketing Pilot Project (RIPMAPP) developed by JICA especially the new technology to small scale rice processors, saying that, rice production which was three tonnes per hectare had improved to 7 tonnes per hectare in some states of the federation with the new technology of rice production and new formula of fertilizer production and soil mapping in which each state has its own soil mapping and soil texture which made the production high.
Audu Ogbeh thanked JICA for its supports to Nigeria and assured them of full support and collaboration that would be needed to develop the nation’s Agricultural sector.
The minister informed JICA of the Federal Government’s plan to buy some rice milling machines from Japan which would be proposed in the 2017 budget and asked them to explore the idea whereby rice chaffs would be converted to briquettes for household uses.
He said Nigeria would continue to leverage on her relationship with JICA and asked them to convey Nigeria.s appreciation to Japan Government.
While presenting an overview of the Rice Post-Harvest and Marketing Pilot Project (RIPMAPP), the Director, Department of Agribusiness and Marketing Development in the Ministry, Mufutau Azeez explained that the RIPMAPP in Nassarawa and Niger States which the FG officially requested the Japanese Government to implement was borne out of the desire of the Federal Government to address the challenges facing the post-harvest processing of rice in the country
He added that the main purpose of the project was to develop human resource capacity of officials of the Ministry, rice producers, processors and marketers of the two states, namely Nassarawa and Niger States.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief Representative JICA, Mr. Nakamura Hirotaka thanked the Ministry for the bilateral relationship that existed between the two countries. He said he was in the ministry to brief the Minister on the progress made so far on the establishment of the Rice Post Harvest Processing and Marketing Pilot Project (RIPMAPP) in Nassarawa and Niger States by Japanese Expert on rice production and noted that JICA had been supporting Nigeria since 1970 in rice cultivation.
Mr. Nakamura then assured Nigeria of their full support and promised to kick-start the distribution of the new technology of milling machines to States so as to enhance food sufficiency in the country.