The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has indicated that without a commensurable production capacity, the price of rice may rise to N40,000 per bag by December if Nigerians fail to engage in rice farming.cuisinecuisine cuisine
Mr. Lokpobiri said that Nigeria spends about $22 billion a year on importing food, and this number could swell if the price of rice increases. In order to reverse this trend, Nigeria needs to produce goods domestically rather than relying on imports, the senator emphasized.
The junior minister, who made this known on Saturday at a town hall meeting with stakeholders in Bayelsa State in Yenagoa, said there was a projection that by 2050, Nigeria’s population would be 450 million. Such rapid population growth would exacerbate food insecurity, he said.
“The price of rice was N12,000 some months ago, but it is now about N26,000 and if we don’t start producing by December, it could be N40,000,” Mr. Lokpobiri explained.
“Rice matures in three months. So this is a wake up call for Bayelsa people to take the four farms we have seriously. The average land you see in Bayelsa can grow rice, so the colonial masters were not wrong in their assessment when they said the Niger Delta could feed not only Nigeria but also the entire West Africa sub-region.
“Unfortunately, agriculture today is not a priority of the Niger Delta as far as the State governments are concerned because of oil,” he said.