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Price of rice will drop soon, minister tells Nigerians

Lai Mohammaed said increased rice production would force down the price of locally-produced rice and provide succour to Nigerians.

The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has assured Nigerians that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is doing everything possible to ensure a drop in the price of rice.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, November 22, 2017, the minister noted that rice has become a staple food in most Nigerian homes.

He said the federal government has put in place measures to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production in rice by drastically cutting down rice importation and encouraging local production.

The minister said rice importation from Thailand, which supplies the bulk of the parboiled rice being imported into Nigeria had dropped from 644,131 Metric Tonnes to about 21,000 Metric Tonnes between September 2015 and September 2017.

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''We are happy to tell Nigerians of a giant stride made by the administration in the agriculture sector, specifically rice production: Nigeria is inching closer to achieving self-sufficiency in rice, due to the success recorded by the administration in the local production of rice,'' he said.

Alhaji Mohammed averred that as a result of the success in local production, some investors from Thailand have shown interest in establishing rice milling plants in Nigeria, a development he said would further boost rice production in Nigeria.

''A few years ago, this (Thai investors establishing rice mills in Nigeria) would not have been possible since Nigeria was not considered a top rice producing country. Today, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of rice,'' he said.

The minister said the increase in rice production across the country did not happen by accident, “But was largely due to the , initiated by to support farmers through inputs distribution and loans to boost rice production, and the among others.

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He said the increased rice production has, in turn, led to the establishment of rice mills, including the 120,000MT WACOT Mill in Kebbi and the 1,000,000MT Dangote Rice Mill.

Alhaji Mohammed said with the Buhari administration targetting rice production of 7 million MT by 2018, the country was closer than ever to achieving self-sufficiency in rice, going by the fact that as at 2015, rice demand in the country was 6.3 million MT.

He said the increased production was bound to force down the price of locally-produced rice and provide succour to Nigerians.

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