James Emejo in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said the country has the capacity to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and security when the human and material resources are rightly harnessed and deployed.
He spoke while commissioning the Large-Scale Integrated Rice Mill, located in Sheda, Kwali, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The president said his administration had in the past eight years intensively promoted and supported agricultural development through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP), the Fertilizer Initiative, Grain Aggregation Centres and Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone Programme.
Buhari said the measures are in line with the food security component of his government’s nine-priority agenda for agriculture, adding that the agricultural development strategy had so far enabled the increased output recorded in critical arable and cash crops production.
Represented at the occasion by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, Buhari pointed out that the new rice mill was just one of the 10 mills embarked upon by the current administration for the purpose of expanding domestic rice production and achieving self-sufficiency in the country.
He said, “This accomplishment clearly demonstrates our commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects and keeping with the ideals of the Change Agenda to ensure prudence in the management of public resources, value for money considering the huge investments in this project.
“We have witnessed the rapid increase in domestic rice production from the incentive given to farmers and processors over this period as a resolution of leveraging our potential, producing what we consume, and patronise locally made products.
“In the agricultural sector, we indeed have the capacity to be food secure if we rightly harness and deploy our human and material resources.”
Buhari said the establishment of large-scale integrated rice processing mills located across the North West, North East, North Central, South-South and South West Zones of the country further demonstrated the commitment of his administration to reposition agriculture.
According to him, the concept is a public, private partnership between the government and the anchor investors to increase the country’s processing capacity for rice production and fill up the demand-supply gap making the country self-sufficient in the commodity value chain.