The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that Nigeria would start to export Nigeria’s brand of rice in the next two years.
The minister, made this disclosure during a press conference after a working visit of the Nestle Nigeria Plc office in Lagos, yesterday.
Alhaji Sabo Nanono noted that the country’s land border closure had resulted in increased outputs by many rice milling plants which were operating below capacities before the closure.
The minister pointed out that with the improved production rate, Nigeria rice will soon be exported. According to him, “Before the closure of our land border, most of these rice milling plants were partially operating, but now ,they not only operate in full capacities but are also expanding.”
Nanono informed that “If we maintain the momentum in the next two years, we may export rice to other countries. I was worried in terms of the production of rice, but what I have found out is that most rice producers have stocked rice for the next six months.
“This means that before the stock is finished, dry season rice will be harvested, and before that finishes, rainy season will come back.”
He stressed that it is only in three months from November to January that rice is not being grown in Nigeria. “We cultivate rice in a nine- month cycle; probably as we move on the cycle will widen, we do not have a problem with rice processing.”
He also said that there had been expansion of local rice Value Chain as well as the creation of more jobs due to increase in rice production.
“As at today, we have 11 rice milling plants with the capacity to produce from 180 tonnes to 350 tonnes of rice per day. In a few months, another mill with a capacity to produce 400 tonnes of rice per day is going to be opened, with another upcoming 34 smaller mills; then, we have clusters in different areas,” the Minister observed.
He added that the local rice farmers were fully engaged and used between 200 farm lands and 300 farm lands directly.
The Minister lauded Nestle Nigeria Plc for its role in assisting local farmers and creating jobs for Nigerians.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the managing director and chief executive officer, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr Mauricio Alarcon, thanked the minister and his delegation for the visit and called for stronger and robust working relationship with the Ministry.
He also said that there were much opportunities for collaboration in Nigeria.
Mr Alarcon further said, “We source 80 per cent of our products locally, we source 100 per cent of Maize for Golden Morn, locally; soya, millet, sugar, salt and cocoa are locally sourced.”