Minister For Agriculture Assures Fall Of Rice Price By November

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief
Audu Ogbeh, on Monday, October 10, 2016 while addressing members of the
Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at the headquarters of
the ministry in Abuja, stated that the price of rice will fall by November but failed to disclose the particular amount.

.On the speculation that the ban on rice importation has been
lifted, Ogbeh stressed that it is not true and will not be encouraged as this
will be detrimental to local production.
“We will not encourage rice importation and there is no
way our ministry or government can be involved in importing rice when we are
working hard to be self-sufficient in local production. 
By November when the
full-scale harvest starts, rice prices will fall,” the minister said.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken
Lokpobiri, had last month, warned that the price of rice, which currently sells
for about N20,000, might rise to N40,000 per bag.
He said that the $22 billion annual food import bill led to
the enormous rise in the price of rice and other commodities.
Lokpobiri had said if Nigerians do not produce some of the
imported items before December, the price of rice could hit N40,000.
On the delay in the implementation of the ministry’s capital
budget, Ogbeh said the stall in the approval of the 2016 budget was responsible
for this, adding that the implementation is beginning now.
“It is about now that the capital expenditure is
beginning. One of the reasons why money is not circulating is that we need to
follow the due process on issues of procurement, advertisement and other,”
he said.
The Minister said his ministry has spent just N882.58m,
representing four per cent of the N21 billion budgeted for it in the 2016
Appropriation Act.
He added: “You may be surprised to know that only six
to seven states in Nigeria are showing enthusiasm in agriculture. Some by
nature don’t seem interested, while others just can’t connect with whatever we
are doing at the federal level.”
He noted that the ministry inherited  N67 billion debt, adding that N20 billion has
been paid to agro-dealers and 900 million oil palm seedlings distributed to
farmers across the country.

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