How Nigeria has successfully overcome rice importation — Agric Minister
Nigeria’s minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Ogbeh has divulged that the country has successfully won the battle on rice importation.
Ogbeh stated this on Thursday during the 2017 budget defence session before the Senate and House of Represenative lawmakers.
He cited an instance in December 2016 where most Nigerians reached out for a domestic rice brand during yuletide and conceived the quality of the rice as surpassing that which was imported.
He further reiterated government’s commitment to boost domestic production of assorted foods in order to tame and end food importation into Nigeria.
On the other hand, the minister came under heavy criticisms by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for lopsidedness in the Ministry’s 2017 Budget.
Out of N92 Billion proposed for the entire Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Agric Ministry alone has a whooping sum of 72 billion while a paltry N20 Billion was meant for agencies and Parastatals.
Reacting to the development, a member of the Committee, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi stressed that the Ministry has obviously hijacked responsibilities of its Parastatals, noting that the situation would make those agencies to underperform.
“Honourable Minister, by allocating larger part of the budget to yourself alone, means the Ministry has hijacked responsibilities of its agencies and Parastatals, which I think is very unfortunate,” Sabi said.
“Over the years, we have not been doing things rightly and why can’t we try to get it right this time?, ” he queried
Sabi emphasized that agencies under Agriculture Ministry have been weakened except the budget was completely reconfigured to capture some of their critical responsibilities.
”By the virtue of this budget, Institutions within the Federal Ministry of Agriculture have been weakened.”
“I know you have field and regional offices, but by virtue of of this budget, agencies under your ministry cannot be supportive of desire of government to provide food security which is an element of affordability and availability,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, the minister has assured the Senate that their observation would be taken into consideration.
Rice importation: Rice importation in Nigeria