The federal government has declared it spent only $160 million on importation of paddy rice last year.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the revelation thursday.
He said the spending represented a 90 percent cut in the country’s rice import bill of $1.65 billion annually.
Mohammed made the disclosure at the inauguration of the of the newly-elected Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), under the chairmanship of Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo. According to the minister, the cut was the highest of such ever and it became possible because the country imported lesser volume of processed rice from Thailand and India.
The volume of imported rice by Nigeria from Thailand dropped from 1.23 million metric tonnes in 2014 to 23,192mt as at November 2017.
The data released by the Thai Rice Exporters Association said the value of these exports dropped to 324 million Thai baht from 8.2 billion Thai bhat.
Mohammed said with the progress made in the rice cultivation, the country was inching towards self-sufficiency than any administration before through the efforts of local rice farmers and millers.
“We are just two years away from meeting our target production of 6 million metric tonnes of milled rice, which is Nigeria’s total rice consumption. We increased the number of rice farmers from five million to an all-time high of over 11 million,” Mohammed said.
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