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Nigeria investing in 10 new rice mills – Agric minister

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammed Mahmoud, said on Tuesday Nigeria has taken a leading role in the global production of food items including rice, cassava, yam, palm oil, and maize.

Mahmoud, who disclosed this at the maiden edition of the National Agribusiness Stakeholders’ and Investment Summit in Abuja, said the Federal Government is investing in the development of additional 10 rice mills across the country.

According to him, Nigeria’s food production had been on the increase in the last three years, making the country a force to reckon with in Africa.

Mahmoud stressed that Nigeria is now the largest producer of rice in Africa.

The minister told delegates that the country’s agricultural potential was huge with over 84 million hectares of arable land of which 40 percent was cultivated.

He said: “It is remarkable that in the past three years, Nigeria has taken a leading role globally in cassava, yam, maize, palm oil, and rice production.

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“We are currently the largest producer of rice in Africa with a production level of over nine million metric tonnes from 2019. The Federal Government is investing in the development of additional 10 large-scale integrated rice mills across the country.

“Their combined minimum capacity is 320MT per day, which, when completed will enhance Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in rice production.”

The minister noted that the agricultural sector currently accounts for 24.14 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 75 percent of the total non-oil exports.

Mahmoud added: “It is notable that through various empowerment support initiatives in production, processing, and marketing of agricultural commodities, we have lifted a total of 4,205,576 Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.

“The Federal Government has deliberately designed agricultural investment incentives to support high-level private sector participation, including tax holiday, exemptions and reliefs.”

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