By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA— Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has assured farmers, millers and, indeed, all stakeholders in rice and wheat production of Federal Government’s support to enable the country achieve self-sufficiency in food security soon.
Osinbajo gave the assurance during a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Monday.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, which lasted about five hours, chairman of the Task Force and Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, said the meeting was principally called to review the rice and wheat programme in the country.
Ag Pres Osinbajo
He said: “This is the meeting of Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat and we reviewed the wheat programme and what we can do more to support states in order to increase production of wheat.
“To ensure that our farmers, who have responded to the call are supported in terms of getting good price for their output in order to sustain their interests.
“We reviewed where we are with rice production, the Acting President noted with satisfaction all the efforts be different stakeholders to attain sufficiency in the shortest possible time.
“The Acting President assured the meeting that the Federal Government will continue to support the drive towards self sufficiency in food security.
“He said the government of necessity will support the farmers, the millers and other stakeholders involved in the value chain.”
The governor added that more states other than the previous fives, had joined in the production of wheat, to bring the number to eleven.
He said Nigeria was on course towards achieving self-sufficiency in rice and wheat production.
“I think we have done very well, we have remarkable increase in the number of states that have produced wheat from the last season.
“Last season we had about five states but today we are hearing reports from about 11 States and the increase in output per state is quiet significant as well.
“So we believe that with sustained trajectory that we are seeing we will be able to achieve our self sufficiency,” he said.
The governor, however, could not confirm if Nigeria was the second largest producer of rice in the world as he didn’t readily have the statistics.
“I don’t have that data but I know that our farmers have responded and all parts of Nigeria, about 32 states, have increased production,” he said
Those who attended the meeting include governors of Ebonyi, Dave Umahi; Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje; Kebbi, Abubakar Bagudu; and Jigawa, Badaru Abubakar.
The M inister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief Audu Ogbeh, his counterpart in Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, as well as governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emiefele, were also in attendance.