NewsExpress banner Firstbank Verve banner Fidelity bank card banner Umm Sulaim's Thoughts Camano banner

Nigerians shall not live on rice alone, By Fredrick Nwabufo

By News Express on 24/10/2019

Gmail icon

Views: 394

•Fredrick Nwabufo
•Fredrick Nwabufo

President Muhammadu Buhari’s “rice revolution” is laudable. Before the “crop rebellion”, Nigeria spent about $1.65 billion annually importing rice from Thailand and India. But the country is not yet home and dry in food production.

In December 2018, Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said as of 2015, the country’s food import bill was $7.9 billion, but that the figure plummeted to $1.6 billion in 2018.

However in September, 2018, Audu Ogbe, former Minister of Agriculture, put Nigeria’s annual food import bill at $22 billion. The fact is, Nigeria was spending its future away importing food.

It is for this exigent reason Buhari’s directive to CBN “to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country” is apropos. As he said, “the foreign reserve will be conserved and utilised strictly for diversification of the economy, and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food import bills.”

But what is our obsession with rice?

Do not get me wrong. The rice revolution is a good one. Nigeria’s dependence on foreign rice is whittling and our production capacity is burgeoning.

At the 25th edition of the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA), President Buhari accentuated this feat.

He said: “Rice importation from Thailand fell from 644,131 tons in September 2015 to 20,000 tons in September 2017, representing a 95 per cent drop. Self-sufficiency in rice is so important because it is the most widely consumed staple in Nigeria, and also because Nigeria’s daily expenditure on rice for over three decades stood at $5 million a day!”

Also, figures from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) showed that rice production has increased from an average of 7.1 million tonnes between 2013 and 2017 to 8.9 million tonnes in 2018.

But rice is not Nigeria’s only biggest import. Some of the country’s other huge food imports are sugar, wheat and fish. Of the quoted annual import bill of $22 billion, these commodities bite off a chunk.

According to Adekunle Oresegun, Director of Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research Lagos, Nigeria spends about $1 billion annually on the importation of fish. This is about the same amount the country spent importing rice yearly.

“The truth of the matter is that Nigeria spends about one billion dollars annually on importation of fish. Because of our fish production deficiency in Nigeria, we want to increase the number of people who have the knowledge and skills to farm fish. The intention of this vocational training is to increase fish production,” the director said at a training in Ebonyi State.

He also suggested a remedy to this huge expense. He said: “There are two ways to approach it: to increase production by increasing the number of people into fish production; to genetically modify the fish for productivity. The metric tons of fish production in Nigeria are below the demand and consumption of fish and so we are still at the infancy in popularising fish production.”

Really, with the immense aquatic resources of the country, we have no business spending $1 billion importing fish annually.

We cannot live on rice alone; at least we need protein in the mix – on that bowl of white, sultry grain. Just as the government has scored a winning goal in boosting rice production, attention should be turned to other areas of agriculture where Nigeria has a comparative advantage – in the true sense of diversification.

Also, Nigeria spends $100 million importing sugar annually – the largest import bill for the product in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is despite the fact that the country can acquire the capacity to produce enough of the commodity to meet local demand. Currently, our sugar output only meets 7 percent of the demand.

In addition, wheat production is a sphere the government needs to zero in on; though I am aware there is some effort in this area. Nigeria spends about $4.2 billion importing the commodity. At the moment, local production is still infinitesimal when weighed against demand. This accounts for the rising cost of bread.

In the true sense of diversifying the economy, the government needs to linchpin areas in agriculture where we have comparative advantage to drastically reduce our food import bill.

We cannot live on rice alone.

•Fredrick, an Abuja-based media personality, tweets @FredrickNwabufo

Source News Express

Posted 24/10/2019 12:42:26 PM

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
25% of pregnant women in Nigeria at high...

Nigerian millionaire dates US President Donald Trump’s daughter...

Gunmen kill prominent businessman in Kebbi

Thousands of jobs at risk as British Steel...

Celebrations in Uganda as President Museveni signs anti-gay...

Anambra distributes NI billion cheque to farmers, as...

Global survey finds widespread lack of confidence in...

Jubilation as Enugu Judiciary workers endorse Ugwuanyi for...

Ibim Semenitari: Exceptional Amazon, Epitome of Selfless Service,...

Airtel targets the youth with new ‘Come Alive’...

President Buhari fuelling crisis in Kano APC —...

Cows take over airport runway, prevent plane from...

 

Latest News BREAKING! Pandemonium in Awka as Vigilante chief shot dead •Residents scamper for safety Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer sues police, demands N2bn compensation FG freezes Sahara Reporters' bank account Police arrest four persons for shooting herdsman in Ogun Soldiers kill robbery suspects in Aba Boko Haram fighters killed as NAF launches ‘Operation Rattle Snake’ Security: Lagos to build new control centre, install over 2,000 cameras – Sanwo-Olu One dead, many injured as trailer crushes several vehicles in Abuja Banks that denied Smart loans are queuing up to offer him money since he got in the Senate Sex worker brings python into court Senate asks FG, States, LGs to declare emergency on unemployment Kogi launches emergency transport scheme for pregnant women

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (571,267 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (456,367 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (406,268 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (341,338 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (307,642 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (291,934 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (261,211 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (260,244 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (241,671 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (228,216 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (203,905 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (200,310 views)

 

CBN milk production

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (111) Business & Economy (4,619) Business Verdict (89) Columnists (1,156) Complaints & Requests (97) Enterprise & Opportunities (221) Entertainment (717) Features (855) Global Business Monitor (497) ICT Monitor (73) International (4,319) Interview (219) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (178) Maggie's Blog (514) News (55,125) Opinion (1,438) Pidgin (18) Politics (11,873) Religion (1,133) Sports (2,253) Stock Watch (41) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera