Efforts to get the nation out of its present economic challenges are beginning to yield positive results, especially in agriculture. This is according to the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu.
Speaking in Abuja on Sunday, Shehu said significant increase in local rice production and processing is already saving the country a lot of foreign exchange.
Shehu said that Nigeria only imported 58,000 tons of rice from Thailand in 2015 as against 1.2million tons in 2014.
According to him,five rice mills in Thailand servicing Nigeria have stopped production due to the withdrawal of our patronage and the government is watching with keen interest the growing investment in rice milling by the private sector.
He said government would continue to encourage the Ministry of Agriculture on such efforts through BUA Industries in Jigawa and Dangote in Kano; OLAM and WACOTT in Nasarawa and Kebbi as well as a consortium of businessmen led by a former governor in Anambra.
Shehu also stated that the price of a bag of fertilizer had been reduced from over N9, 000 per bag to 5,500.
“This country has about 32 fertilizer blending plants that have remained idle for many years, but that about half of that number is now in production with many of them running three shifts a day.’’
He said some of the blending plants have now provided direct employment to hundreds of workers and indirect employment opportunities to thousands of others.
Shehu said that the Buhari administration’s agricultural revolution was bringing about other socio-economic changes in the country.
He said that a recent survey carried out in two urban areas of Jigawa and Kiyawa showed that jobless young men were migrating from commercial motor cycle business known as, `achaba’, to farming.
“In Kiyawa, it takes a long wait to catch a commercial motor cycle because they are rapidly disappearing.
“The young men are moving to the farms. These are development issues in the country that our media should pay attention ,’’ he added.
*With agency report