The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono on Thursday said Nigeria will be exporting its rice in the next two years, following the remarkable increase that is recorded in its production and processing since the nation’s border was closed.
Nanono made the statement in Kura, Kano state during an assessment tour of the impact of the border drill on the entire rice production value chain.
Nanono and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed led stakeholders to visit four integrated rice mills in the state which are Al-Hamsad Rice, Kura Brothers Rice Mill, Tiamin Rice Ltd and Umza International Farms, all in Kano.
“The way and manner we are going in the production of rice, in the next two years, we will start exporting rice outside the country.
“For those that are worried about the partial close of our borders, we are not doing this to hurt the people but to protect the future of the country, provide jobs and food sufficiency.
“Government will continue to give support to rice farmers to achieve this goal,” he said.
The President of Integrated Rice Millers Association in the state, Mohammed Umza noted that the border closure has impacted positively on rice industry nationwide and in particular, Kano state.
He said prior to the closure, the industry had been battling with foreign rice market forces which threatened its coexistence.
“Kano state, by virtue of its agrarian origin has provided a conducive atmosphere where rice milling activities thrives.
“The state has the largest concentration of integrated rice processing mills as well as clusters of cottage rice mills scattered across nearly all the local government in the state.
“Of the 35 registered integrated rice mills in Nigeria, about 12 are domiciled in Kano and more are coming up, which makes Kano undoubtedly the capital of rice processing in Nigeria.
“An estimated 5000 metric tones of finished rice is turned out daily by the combined integrated mills and cottage mills in Kano.
“This is shared in the ratio of about 60 per cent from the cottage mills and 40 per cent from the integrated mills.
“Combined, the mills employ about 10,000 people either directly or indirectly,” he said.
He urged the Federal government to sustain the policy of border closure, saying that it will help the industry grow, provide food and employment to the rapidly growing and urban population.