The Senate Committee on Agriculture has said that two million metric tonnes of rice are smuggled into the country annually.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, Vice Chairman of the committee, Muhammad Enagi, said the smuggled rice is part of the 6.7 million metric tonnes consumed annually in the country.
The meeting was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)–Global Environment Facility (GEF), in collaboration with the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN).
Enagi said Nigeria’s production of rice rose from 3.7 million metric tonnes in 2017 to about five metric tonnes in 2021.
“In spite of this, 6.7 million metric tons of rice is consumed in Nigeria annually, resulting in a deficit of about two million metric tons which is either imported or smuggled illegally into the country,” he said.
The lawmaker said he is currently sponsoring a bill to establish the National Rice Development Council of Nigeria for a “comprehensive development” of the rice sector. He said the bill, when passed into law, would provide a “comprehensive operational and governance” structure for a complete rice value chain, adding that it will transform the activities of rice farmers, processors, millers, researchers and marketers.
“With our natural competitive advantage in the area of rice production, Nigeria should put in place a National Rice Development Council and a comprehensive national rice development roadmap that will guide us not only into a regime of self-sufficiency in rice production, but also for export,” he said.
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