Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and the Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on Rice and Wheat Production, has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari administration is determined to make rice available and affordable to all Nigerians.
Bagudu gave the assurance during a chat with newsmen after meeting with the Rice Distributors Association of Nigeria (RIDAN) and the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) in Lagos on Thursday.
According to Bagudu, from the contributions of all the stakeholders, it is apparent that what Nigerians want is actually not about making subsidy available for rice production.
He said that making rice affordable and accessible such that Nigerian produced rice could be as competitive as those of the imported ones was the yearning of Nigerians.
“The mandate given to this taskforce which is under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is to ensure Nigeria attains self-sufficiency in rice and wheat production.
“But so far, the stakeholders within the value chain, either as farmers, distributors or millers are not talking about subsidy.
“What they are saying is help us tell Mr President that we will like to have our rice at a competitive price with the so called imported ones.
“That has to do with affordability, and I can tell you that Mr President is committed to that,’’ Bagudu said.
The governor explained that the stakeholders were patriotic and interested in selling Nigerian produced rice because it was nutritious and helped to provide employment for the Nigerian populace.
On smuggled rice, Bagudu said the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), had responsibilities to discharge and that government would intensify efforts in that regards.
He restated the Federal Government’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria attained self-sustainability in food production.
“All the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory can grow rice to help to contribute to the President’s mantra of `we must grow what we eat and eat what we grow”.
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