FG’s New Measures To Curb Rice Importation Through Land Borders

FG’s New Measures To Curb Rice Importation Through Land Borders

 

The Federal Govern­ment through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has put measures in place through collaboration with security agencies to curb the impor­tation of foreign rice into the country through land borders.

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This formed part of the resolutions of the meeting of the Steering Committee of the National Taskforce on Illegal Importation of Rice through Land Bor­ders held at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja at the weekend.

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Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mah­mood Abubakar, said the ban on rice importation has brought about a sig­nificant rise in local rice production and unlocked economic opportunities for rice investors in the country.

Abubakar said his min­istry is very worried about the increase in smuggling and has convened the meet­ing to discuss critical is­sues in order to strategise and come up with concrete measures to enable the committee carry out its duties effectively.

He noted that the huge improvement in the rice sub-sector needs to be sus­tained for the country’s economic growth as sig­nified by the huge contri­bution of the agricultural sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP) which is in line with the Federal Government’s diversification policy.

He said: “The resumed smuggling of foreign rice, especially through the land borders, is constituting a serious threat to these achievements.

“Therefore, if the smug­gling is left unchecked, it will jeopardise all govern­ment efforts to enhance the domestic rice industry”.

He pointed out that the Federal Government and private sector have invest­ed a lot of resources in rice production and processing over the years because of the government commit­ment to the development of the sub-sector through its various interventions.

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According to him, “The ministry has been sup­porting farmers especially smallholders and rice pro­cessors with quality seeds of improved varieties, production and processing machinery and equipment, including the provision of modern rice mills of vari­ous capacities, per boiler, dryers, colour sorters in order to boost rice produc­tion and improve the quali­ty and market competitive­ness of domestic rice.

“Nigerian rice industry had recorded significant progress in terms of invest­ment due to an increase in the quality and quantity of the milled rice and it has in turn, increased the competitiveness, consumer preference and patronage of our milled rice.

“There is no better time than now to maintain the rice production momen­tum in order to achieve self-sufficiency for food and nutrition security, job creation, wealth genera­tion and import substitu­tion.”

In his remarks, the Comptroller General, Nige­ria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.), said the meeting has presented an avenue for the committee to deliberate and discuss on curbing insecurity and smuggling of rice into the country.

He said Nigeria Customs Service cannot fight alone in the operation of the bor­der patrol but needs other security agencies such as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to beef up the joint operations of the taskforce.

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