President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigeria has no business being a net importer of food.
The president, who spoke on Monday at the commissioning of Olam Rice Mill in Rukubi Local Government Area of Nassarawa State, said, “Nigeria’s position as the largest economy in Africa is not enough unless we attain food sufficiency target of 2015, and even within the next 5 years begin exportation of rice and other staple food.”
He lauded Olam Farms for growing the rural economy with investment worth over $72 million that has 1,000 workers mostly rural women and youths in Nassarawa State.
Jonathan, who expressed believe that Nigeria would in the next five years begin rice exportation given the rice policy adopted by the present administration said, “Olam investment of over $72 million in Rukubi Doma Local Government Area of Nassarawa is a mark of confidence in the rice transformation agenda of the present administration.” Jonathan afterwards designated the farm a staple crop processing zone centre to drive more inclusive growth and growing of the rural economy which would absorb more youths and women in the agribusiness.
According to Jonathan, “Olam Farms is strategic in growing the rural economy and we would factor into it the development of staple crop processing zone, which would take care of provision of rural infrastructure for agribusiness.
“The staple crop processing zone seeks to grow the rural economy by providing the basic facilities required in boosting the rural economy.
“By growing the rural economy with greater policy articulation, we would surpass our food import target. We have achieved 90 percent of 20 million metric tons in 2015.
“From a total food import of N1.1 trillion in 2009, we have reduced our food import bill to N684 billion in 2013. We are progressing in the right order”, he said.