The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has promised that the country will commence exportation of rice in the near future to engender the twin benefits of food security and economic diversification.
Ado Hassan, Secretary of the Kano State chapter of RIFAN, said this in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of the unveiling of the mega rice pyramids in Abuja.
The pyramids, which was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari, is a joint project between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under its Anchor Borrowers Programme, and RIFAN.
Mr Hassan dispelled insinuations that the rice pyramids on display were not solely rice, adding that the commodity was brought in by rice farmers in virtually all states of the country.
“The rice here is from all over the country. RIFAN has always been real, it is not possible to deceive 200 million Nigerians with a project like this.
“For the fact that Nigeria has not imported even a grain of rice in the last four years is enough proof that we are already self-sufficient in the commodity. The cultivation of rice is a reality and it will continue to happen,” he said.
Mr Hassan said that Nigeria had become the highest rice-growing country in Africa due to the support of the Federal Government and the intervention of the CBN.
“There was a time when the CBN was spending N1billion to support rice import bills. Today the apex bank is no longer spending a kobo to support the importation of rice.
“Today, Nigeria has become the highest rice grower in the whole of Africa. That is a great achievement.
“We have leaders of some of our neighbouring countries who are coming here today to see our miracle in rice. They are a sure market for our rice exportation,” he said.
He added that although insecurity was a setback, it has not discouraged farmers from cultivating the product