The Federal Government has lamented that Nigerians were being exposed to expired rice meant for animals in their countries of origin, pointing out that if the affected rice had been subjected under scrutiny they would have failed NAFDAC test because most of them have been on the shelf for over six years.
Disclosing this to journalists in his Oro country home on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed blamed the development on the activities of smugglers.
He said, “The rice being imported now are not fit for consumption in their countries of origin. They are also being subsidised and sent here even in credit because those people know that they are unfit for consumption; they are only fit for animals.
“Imported rice are mostly smuggled into the country because they cannot pass NAFDAC test. No Nigerian rice is more than one year old but the imported ones have spent even six years in their countries”, he said.
Mohammed however promised that in the next one and half years Nigeria will become self-sufficient in rice production given the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to agriculture.
According to him, “In the area of agriculture, it has been a huge revolution. Let’s take one of our national staples, such as rice, as an example. When we came in, there were 5 million rice farmers.
“Today, we have in excess of 11 million rice farmers. Our rice import has been cut by over 80 per cent. These didn’t happen by accident. It was a result of our Anchor Borrowers Programme. There are more millionaire farmers today than at any other time in the history of our nation.
“Today, Nigeria is close to achieving self-sufficiency in rice than at any other time in the history of our country.
“This Administration has employed 500,000 unemployed graduates under its Social Intervention Programme, SIP. No government in our country’s history has ever done that. This Administration has been daily feeding 8.5 million school children in 23 states. That has never been done before in Nigeria.
“This Administration has been proving 10,000 Naira every two months to over 300,000 families as social security for the most vulnerable. This has never been done before in Nigeria.
“This Administration, realising that SMEs are the biggest employers of labour, has been growing such enterprises at an astronomical rate through its Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme. This is unprecedented,” the minister said.
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