Lagos State is supporting the Federal Government to bring down rice importation which is draining foreign reserve, Governor Akinwumi Ambode has said.
Ambode, who spoke during the 2015 World Food Day celebration, said the state consumes over 50 per cent of national rice demand which is put at over two metric tonnes valued at N365 billion.
Represented by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Yakub Basorun, the governor said to meet the national demand put at two metric tonnes, 90 per cent is imported from other countries which constitutes a drain on the nation’s foreign exchange reserve while thousands of youths are roaming the streets unemployed.
Against this background, he said the state and Kebbi have decided to collaborate to develop the rice value chain.
He said: “While Kebbi State is one of the highest producers of paddy rice in Nigeria, Lagos is undoubtedly the highest consumer of milled rice with ultra-modern rice processing facilties in agro industrial estates located at Imota in Ikorodu Division.”
To boost processing, he said the state plans to establish more rice processing facilities in collaboration with the private sector. This, he expressed, also, will help to create more job opportunities for the people.
He also said the government is working towards providing facilities so as to boost agricultural productivity.
He said the state plans to give incentives to farmers as part of a long term strategy to improve food supply chain. One of the strategies is to provide incentives and inputs to enterprising residents, including the farm estates in Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry.
In furtherance of the policy of making arable land farming, he said the state has acquired land in Ogun,Osun and the Federal Capital Territory with a view to allocating plots of land to interested farmers who will sign off-take agreements with the state government in this regard.
Increased food production, he believes could help the nation reduce its dependence on imported foods.
Source: The Nation Nigeria