The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) on Tuesday said the country will soon begin exporting rice to other countries.
“We have leaders of some of our neighbouring countries who are coming here today to see our miracle in rice. They are a sure market for our rice exportation,” secretary of the Kano chapter of RIFAN, Ado Hassan, said in an interview on the sidelines of the unveiling of the mega rice pyramids in Abuja.
The pyramids, to be unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari, is a joint project between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under its Anchor Borrowers Programme, and RIFAN.
According to Mr Hassan, Nigeria is the highest rice-growing country in Africa due to the federal government’s support and the intervention of the CBN.
“There was a time when the CBN was spending N1billion to support rice import bills. Today the apex bank is no longer spending a kobo to support the importation of rice. Today, Nigeria has become the highest rice grower in the whole of Africa. That is a great achievement,” he explained.
Mr Hassan also dismissed insinuations that the rice pyramid on display were not all rice, adding that the commodity was brought in by rice farmers across Nigeria.
“The rice here is from all over the country. RIFAN has always been real, it is not possible to deceive 200 million Nigerians with a project like this. For the fact that Nigeria has not imported even a grain of rice in the last four years is enough proof that we are already self-sufficient in the commodity. The cultivation of rice is a reality and it will continue to happen,” he noted.
Despite worsening insecurity, he added that they were not discouraged from farming.
Mr Hassan assured that the massive investment in rice cultivation by Nigeria will bring down its price and make it available to ordinary Nigerians.