The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that its diversification of Nigeria’s economy, especially in the agricultural
sector, is bearing fruit as Nigeria is now the second largest producer of rice in the world.
This revelation was made by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, who insisted that
Nigeria has achieved the status of second largest producer of rice in the world. Malam Garba said this in Abuja at the weekend at a special interactive session with the youths organized by Citizens Support for Good Governance in Nigeria (SGGN).
The presidential media aide, who spoke on the efforts being made by President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the economy, called for more
patience. He said, “No country will develop when you have to import virtually everything, including tooth pick and tissue paper. All the food we eat in this country was being imported. So, all of the money earned was just going to buy food.
“But as I speak to you now, Nigeria just achieved the record of the second largest producer of rice in the world. The rice revolution just
started a year ago. Some of you from Nasarawa know the kind of things going on there. A newspaper did an investigation in Kebbi and they
found out that there were 48,000 new millionaires in Kebbi state alone last year for growing rice.
“This over reliance on oil has killed this country and we cannot continue like this. So, the diversification of the economy means more
money will be in the hands of ordinary Nigerians. And there will be widespread prosperity all over the country.” It is commendable that the Buhari administration has continued where the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan stopped in diversification into agriculture, especially in rice production.
Nigerians would not forget in a hurry the effort of the former minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina whose sterling performance in that sector made it possible for him to be recognized worldwide and paved way for his election as the current president of African Development Bank (AfDB). However, to claim that Nigeria is now the second largest producer of rice is quite outlandish, especially at a time many Nigerians are
buying a bag of rice whether local made or imported at not less than N20,000, which is above the minimum wage of N18,000.
Besides, if Nigeria is to achieve such a milestone as the second largest producer of rice in the world, which invariably makes the country the largest producer in Africa, the onus is on the minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh to make the announcement. Even if Ogbeh is to make such claim, he must present the statistics to back his claim. He should be able to tell Nigerians the quantity of rice produced in the past year, the quantity produced by the largest producer of the product and the availability of the product for the ordinary Nigerians who rice is a staple food, but who presently cannot afford it.
Nigerians should not be made to feel like their government is taking them for a ride, using its well-oiled propaganda machinery. If their country is now the second largest producer of rice in the world they want to feel the impact.