J0nathan targets Self-Sufficiency in Rice Production
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan declared Tuesday in Abuja that the attainment of self-sufficiency in rice production by Nigeria is a top priority of his administration.
Speaking at a meeting with the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, President Jonathan said that domestic self-sufficiency in rice production was one of the major assignments he has given to the new Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.
“Before we leave office in 2015, we must stop the importation of rice to Nigeria. There is no reason why Nigeria should be importing rice. We have all that is needed to grow enough for domestic consumption and have a surplus we can export to other countries,” President Jonathan said.
Noting that his Administration had given agricultural development the highest possible priority in its Agenda for National Transformation because of its vital importance, the President said that the Federal Government will welcome increased support and assistance from IFAD for the successful implementation of its plans to fully revitalize Nigeria's agricultural sector.
“This government is fully committed to agricultural development. It is key for us and we are not going to play politics with it. We know that besides ensuring food security for our people, it can also help to generate increased employment opportunities for our youth. We are not only thinking of increasing food production for domestic consumption, we are also working on making agriculture in Nigeria an attractive business for investors and our youth,” President Jonathan said.
The President told Dr. Nwanze, a Nigerian who has headed IFAD since 2009, that the country was proud of the good work he was doing at the international agency and would continue to support his efforts on the global stage.
Dr. Nwanze said that IFAD has been cooperating with Nigerian Governments since 1985 and is currently engaged in developing value chains for rice, cassava and other agricultural products in the country.
Commending the high priority given to agricultural development in President Jonathan's Agenda for National Transformation, Dr Nwanze pledged that IFAD will continue to be strong partner of the Nigerian Government.