Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar has urged the federal government to disregard calls for the resumption of rice importation into the country.
Governor Abubakar was quoted in a statement by his press secretary, Malam Abubakar Al-Sadique while addressing members of Rice Farmers Association who were on a peaceful protest to the Bauchi Government House, over Federal government’s planned resumption of rice importation of rice into the country.
He said that the federal government should put the plan aside since both the Federal and State governments have endorsed local rice production as a step taken by the Muhammadu Buhari administration to create jobs and diversify sources of earning foreign exchange and attain food security.
He commended members of the Rice Farmers Association for resorting to peaceful protest to press their demands explaining that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration earlier decided to suspend the importation of rice and introduced policies to encourage local production to harness the agricultural potentials of the country.
“President Muhammadu Buhari properly acknowledges the sufferings in the land, but also reminds us that we have to make sacrifices before we take Nigeria to the Promised Land. He always reminds Nigerians that Nigeria is our country, and there is no any other country for us, so we must remain here and salvage it together”, he said.
Governor Abubakar reminded the farmers that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme was introduced by the Federal government in order to encourage local rice production and save billions of naira the nation loses in foreign exchange, and pledged to continue rendering all the necessary support to the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria to make Bauchi state one of the major producers of the commodity in Nigeria.
“My administration, like the Buhari administration does everything within the limited resources available to government to encourage our local farmers to boost agriculture especially rice production. Our youths are unemployed while most of our people especially rural dwellers are famers and most of the fertile land we’re endowed with still remains uncultivated. This necessitated our administration’s determination to exploit the opportunities that abound in agriculture for our state and nation to regain the greatness”, the governor said.
He further informed that his administration has also commenced the purchase of rice cultivated locally in the State from the Rice Farmers Association while arrangements are being concluded to boost rice production at Jama’are River Basing.
He also promised to delivered the letter delivered by the Rice Farmers during the peaceful protest to the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Speaking earlier, Bauchi State chapter chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Dr Yahaya Yusuf said they were at the Government House to express their disapproval to the reported Federal government’s plan to lift the ban on rice importation.
He described the call to the federal government to lift the ban on rice importation as“unpatriotic” saying that they do not mean well to the nation because the only way Nigeria can achieve self-sufficiency is by closing it’s borders and look inwards.