FG to annually produce 7 million tonnes of rice from 2017



ABUJA- THE Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed that it will annually produce 7 million tonnes of rice from 2017 with new technological approach to actualise it.
This was stated by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, during a visit by the Japan International Corporation Agency, JICA, in his office.
The Minister also said the government has expressed determination to buy some rice milling machines from Japan which would be proposed in the 2017 budget, and added that possibly rice chaffs would be converted to briquettes for household use.
While lauding the Rice Post- Harvest Processing and Marketing Pilot Project, RIPMAPP, developed by JICA, especially the new technology for small scale rice processors, he said rice production which was three tonnes per hectare has increased to seven tonnes per hectare in some states following the new technology in producing the commodity based on the new formula of fertiliser production, soil mapping and texture for each state.  
According to him the main purpose of the RPMAPP project was to develop human resource capacity of officials of the ministry, rice producers, processors and marketers of two states, which are Nassarawa and Niger.
He commended JICA for its support to Nigeria and assured them government support and collaboration that would be needed to develop the agricultural sector, and appealed to JICA to deploy some rice milling machines to rural farmers.
Earlier in his remark, the Chief Representative, JICA, Mr. Nakamura Hirotaka, said their visit to the Minister was to brief him on the progress made on the establishment of the RIPMAPP project in Nasarawa and Niger States by Japanese experts on rice production.
Nakamura also assured the Minister of their support and partnership to make the project successful, and promised to begin distribution of the new technology to states for massive production of the commodity and its availability to Nigerians.
According to the Director, Department of Agribusiness and Marketing Development in the Ministry, Mufutau Azeez, who explained that the Nasarawa and Niger States were selected for the pilot phase of the project in order to address post-harvest rice processing challenges.   By Gabriel Ewepu

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