Nigeria Saves $600M From Rice Importation, Thailand Mills Shut Down
Nigeria has saved over $600 million (about N216 billion) from the reduction in importation of rice since the nation’s domestic rice production flooded the markets under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Mr. Niyi Akenzua, the Executive Director, Risk Management and Finance, Bank of Agriculture disclosed on Thursday in Ibadan when he visited Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State in south-western Nigeria.
Akenzua, who led some officials of the bank on the visit to the state, said that Thailand was the main market for rice importation before Nigeria started local production.
Akenzua said it was worthy of commendation that the country had committed itself to diversifying from the oil economy, with emphasis on revitalisation of agriculture.
He said that he had embarked on advocacy visit around the country to enlist the support and involvement of state governments in ABP, which freed the country from reliance on importation of rice.
“We enjoin Oyo State to participate in the ABP as we have remodeled the programme to expand the scope of the beneficiaries.
“The pilot scheme was so successful that $600 million was saved from rice importation due to massive rice production in the country,” he said.
According to him, one or two rice millers in Thailand have closed down because Nigeria, which has always been their major importer, has stopped importing their rice.
“We felt that it was not sustainable. Of course, the crash in crude oil price forced us back to agriculture,’’ he said.
Akenzua said that the state could choose a particular crop to produce under the programme, with a promise to co-fund or fund the production of such crop.
Ajimobi in his remarks commended the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, for the positive changes he had brought into the agriculture sector since he assumed duties at the ministry.
The governor stated that the fundamental problem besetting the country was attitudinal, stressing that the country was not bereft of knowledge, policies and programmes capable of enhancing its economy.