The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has lauded the effort of rice farmers in Nigeria, stating that it will help actualize Government’s agenda in the Agricultural sector being food sufficiency, job creation and economic growth.
The Minister made this disclosure during a working visit to rice farms and mills of Stallion Group Limited, Popular Farms and Mill Limited – the producers of Stallion rice in Kano, Kano State over the weekend.
Alhaji Sabo Nanono noted that the Nation’s land border closure had resulted in an accelerated and increased output by rice milling plants in Nigeria, adding the boost would reduce the high rate of unemployment.
The Minister reiterated that with the improved production rate, Nigeria rice is bound to compete favourably in the global market the moment exportation begins, in his words, ” if we maintain this momentum in the next two years, we may export rice to other countries “.
He informed that the Ministry would convene a forum for all relevant stakeholders in the rice sub-sector to dialogue on how to improve on rice Seedlings, farm inputs among others. According to him, “this meeting should take place in the next three to four weeks”.
The Minister further said that “I see no reason why a 50kg bag of rice should be sold for N17,000, the same paddy rice is sold at N8,500 and maximum processing expense is N2,000 making a total of N10,500, it is unpatriotic to sell a bag more than N14,000 – N 15000.”
He stated that the primary focus of the Ministry is Mechanization of the Agricultural sector, strengthening Research Institutions, Extension Agricultural Services and Livestock/Diary development.
The Minister lauded the Stallion Group for efforts towards improving rice production and creating jobs for Nigerians. He urged other investors to key into Agribusiness because of Its numerous financial benefits.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Managing Director, Popular Farms and Mill Limited, Mr. Amit Kumar Rai Stated that “Stallion Group Popular Farms and Mills Limited, has invested over the US $70m to boost production of Agric business, especially rice and sesame in Nigeria. It operates the biggest rice mill in Kano with an annual installed capacity of 430, 000 metric tons. It has a consolidated capacity of 1.7 Mn Metric tons”.
Mr Rai further said that “the group is investing also in additional milling facilities locally in order to obtain self-sufficiency in rice production. he highlighted some of the popular brands of the group include: Tomato King, Double Bull, People’s Princess and Super Champion”.
He pointed out that the group organise training and distributes rice farming tools free to out-growers across the rice-producing states in Nigeria as part of its dedicated services in the rice value chain initiative.
He informed that ” About 20% of these beneficiaries are women who diligently work alongside their male counterparts in the fields to support their families. the group believes that focus on empowering communities leads to more progressive farmers and greater economic and social opportunities for households. It works through Public-Private Partnership with Federal Government ’s agriculture objectives to train small scale farmers”.
The Minister also visited the Premier Seed Nigeria Limited and Value Seeds Limited, in Zaria, Kaduna State. Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono reemphasised the overall goals of the policy principles of the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP) , stating that it would concentrate on providing an enabling environment for stakeholders at the federal and state level to play their distinctive roles.