By Mahmud Isa
Nigeria’s attainment of five million metric tons in rice production in 2019 and a reduction from 4.5 metric tons to 0.8 metric tons in rice import is an eloquent testimony to the success of President Muhammadu Buhari’s robust economic policies.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), these figures were contained in the 2019 annual report of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that the rice revolution is confirmation that President Buhari’s agriculture policy is working. “Between 2015 and now, the Federal Government has saved over $5.49 billion on rice importation. The quantity of rice coming through our ports has been reduced by 95 percent which amounts to saving of about $5million a day and all these happened between December 2015 and now.
“This achievement is a result of calculated and deliberate policies’ implementation by the Buhari administration to fulfill his promise on self-sufficiency in food production. Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), one of the initiatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has made a very positive impact, was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, focused primarily on rice production.
“Through the ABP, farmers were given soft loans with very low interest and that impacted the nation’s local production and reduced importation of rice in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This has empowered rice farmers and processors in the country and resulted in a significant boost in rice production in the country and created more than 500,000 jobs.
“Nigeria has not only become the largest producer of rice in Africa, it is also listed among the top 16 producers of rice in the world. This should be a thing of joy for every Nigerian; it is a true indication of moving from a mono-economy to a diversified economy in the face of unpredictable crude oil prices, and its resultant effect on the revenue profile of the country. This confirms that agriculture financing is key to a faster growth of the Nigerian economy”.
According to the pro-Buhari group, this good news shows that the government knows the culture of the environment and knows how to tap into it. These are the outcome of well-conceived, well-deployed policies. If there is increased production of rice in Nigeria for domestic consumption and export, the country is sure to earn more than enough to develop its economy.
“The lesser a country is dependent on other sovereigns, especially on commodities that can be produced locally, the better it becomes. Agriculture is important in international trade, it helps to improve the balance of trade, reduce import, increase export, generate foreign exchange, and generally help to improve the standard of living of the people,” the statement added.