Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu says the price of local rice will soon drop to N 10,000 a bag.
He stated this at the opening of the 2-day AgroNigeria High-Level Rice Conference today at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel and Towers,Abuja.
Bagudu noted that Nigeria had the capacity to tap into the 600-700 MT Global Rice Market as rice is grown in all the states of the federation and the FCT.
He stated that stakeholders must cooperate to sustain the growth already recorded in the sector.
The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on rice noted that Nigeria must emulate Japan which imposes a 777% tarrif on imported rice as against the current 50% tarrif on imported rice in Nigeria.
He added that smuggling must be tackled to grow the sector.
Delivering the first keynote address, Dr. Luzius Cavieziel, Regional Director Africa, Syngenta, Switzerland stated that his organisation Syngenta had been investing in different crops across the world.
He added that Syngenta was engaged in 26 Commercial Operations and 6 Research & Development sites.
In his welcome remark, the Chief Host and Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh represented by Director Agribusiness in the ministry, Alhaji Musibau Azeez stated that the Agricultural Promotion Policy had helped to improve the volume of production, capacity of farmers as well as improved the quality and prevent Nigeria from being a dumping site for imported rice.
He expressed that there were 21 integrated rice mills in Nigeria currently producing 1.22 million metric tonnes yearly across rice-processing states like Kano, Enugu, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi amongst others.
He added that the federal government was prioritising the fight against the smuggling of agricultural commodities including rice.
Delivering a second keynote address, the Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed commended AgroNigeria for expanding its scope of coverage to the whole of Africa and for initiating the Rice Conference.
He stated that NIRSAL had developed production models to boost productivity of farmers.
He added that the agency had facilitated access to N3. 4billion by 57,000 farmers, 90 per cent of them from Kebbi.
On her part, Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo noted that farmers could only be economically viable if they formed clusters.
She stated that the state government was prioritising the adoption of agritech such as aquaponics to reduce the cultivation of large expanse of land.
Highlights of the 2-day session which continues tomorrow include plenary sessions as well as exhibition of products and services by agriculture-based firms.