The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has decried the high cost of rice in Nigeria, describing the price as unpatriotic.
This is just as the Minister lauded the effort of farmers in Nigeria, stating that it will help actualise the government’s agenda in the Agricultural sector being food sufficiency, job creation and economic growth.
The Minister said this during a working visit to rice farms and mills of Stallion Group Limited, Popular Farms and Mill Limited – the producers of Stallion rice in Kano, Kano State during the weekend.
He said: “I see no reason why a 50kg bag of rice should be sold for N17,000, the same paddy rice is sold at N8,500 and maximum processing expense is N2,000 making a total of N10,500, it is unpatriotic to sell a bag more than N14,000 to N15000.”
Furthermore, Nanono noted that the Nation’s land border closure had resulted in an accelerated and increased output by rice milling plants in Nigeria, adding the boost would reduce the high rate of unemployment.
The Minister reiterated that with the improved production rate, Nigeria rice is bound to compete favourably in the global market the moment exportation begins.
He said, ” if we maintain this momentum in the next two years, we may export rice to other countries.”
He noted that the Ministry would convene a forum for all relevant stakeholders in the rice sub-sector to dialogue on how to improve on rice Seedlings, farm inputs among others. According to him, ” this meeting should take place in the next three to four weeks.”
He lauded the Stallion Group for efforts towards improving rice production and creating jobs for Nigerians. He urged other investors to key into Agribusiness because of Its numerous financial benefits.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Managing Director, Popular Farms and Mill Limited, Mr Amit Kumar Rai Stated that “Stallion Group Popular Farms and Mills Limited, has invested over US $70m to boost production of Agric business in Nigeria. It operates the biggest rice mill in Kano with an annual installed capacity of 430, 000 metric tons. It has a consolidated capacity of 1.7 Mn Metric tons.”
Mr Rai further said that “the group is investing also in additional milling facilities locally in order to obtain self-sufficiency in rice production. He highlighted some of the popular brands of the group include: Tomato King, Double Bull, People’s Princess and Super Champion.”
He pointed out that the group organises training and distributes rice farming tools free to out-growers across the rice-producing states in Nigeria as part of its dedicated services in the value chain initiative.