A professor of Agricultural Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA has recommended the creation of specialized Rice Institute as a strategy to boost rice production and ultimately ban its importation in Nigeria. Christopher Akinbile made the recommendation while delivering the 135th inaugural lecture of the University titled: The Wealth of Waste: From Water to Rice on Thursday, 21st September 2021 at the University Main Auditorium. The Don said to significantly turn Nigeria into a major rice producer; government should create specialized Rice Institute that will handle all research relating to Rice from breeding through processing and post-harvest operations. He said such an institute will provide necessary information and other technical support to rice farmers and others in chain in order boost rice production in the country.
Professor Akinbile said after measures to shore up rice production have been institutionalized, government should step up robust awareness campaign to sensitize the public on the need to patronize and eat locally produced rice. Akinbile also suggested the formulation and implementation of a policy to forbid rice importation. He said smuggling of rice should then be criminalized in order to encourage increased local production and patronage of made in Nigeria Rice.
According to the Don Rice is one the most common staple food globally and ranks third after Wheat and Maize. He stated that Rice consumed in Nigeria before 1960 were produced locally, however local production fell from 99% to 38% between 1960 and 1980 due to non-encouragement of Rice Farmers. Professor Akinbile stated that before the recent ban on Rice importation in 2019, a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report on food import showed that Nigeria spent 365 billion Naira on importation of rice annually meaning Nigerians consume 1 billion Naira worth of Rice daily.
Read more from the source- EIN