Heineken Lokpobiri has said a bag of rice might soon be sold for N40,000 if Nigerian farmers don't start producing.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri has said a bag of rice might soon be sold for N40,000 if Nigeria fails to start producing by December 2016.
According to a report by Vanguard Newspaper, Lokpobiri emphasized that the increase in price of a bag of rice is as a result of the high cost of importation.
Lokpobiri, who made this revelation at a town hall meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Saturday, September 11, 2016, further said that Nigeria spends about $22bn a year on food importation.
He said: “For your information, we spend about $22bn a year importing food into Nigeria. We know how many more dollars they bought and that is why you see the price of rice going up.
“Price of rice was may be N12,000 some months ago, but it is now about N26,000 and if we don’t start producing, by December it could be N40,000.
“Rice matures in three months. So, this is a wake up call for Bayelsa people to take the four farms we have seriously. The federal government has four farms in the state in our records. The average land you see in Bayelsa can grow rice, so the colonial masters were not wrong in their assessment when they said Niger Delta could feed not only Nigerian but also the entire West Africa sub-region.
“Unfortunately, agriculture till today, is not a priority of the Niger Delta as far as the state governments are concerned because of oil,” Lokpobiri disclosed.
Lokpobiri’s call on farmers is coming following the numerous calls by the Senior Minister for Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh on plans to see more production of foods locally.