Nigeria is now the largest producer of rice in Africa, the Federal Government said on Tuesday.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said this in Abuja at an event to mark the 2020 World Food Day, celebrated annually on October 16.
Nanono said, “Significant progress has been made to improve agricultural productivity since the inception of the present administration.
“To boost food security, Nigeria has curbed imports and has established a robust rice production programme to encourage more rice production at home.
“Efforts in this direction are starting to show results as Nigeria is now Africa’s largest producer of rice. The country is also the largest producer of cassava in the world.”
The minister said a range of policies and initiatives to strengthen the rice and cassava value chains had been put in place.
According to him, the economic potential of both livestock and fisheries are also being harnessed.
Nanono stated that in an attempt to diversify the economy, the Federal Government had continued with its focus on the agricultural sector.
“The government has deepened the culture with the Anchor Borrowers Programme initiative and ban on the importation of some agro-commodities,” he said.
The minister further stated that the Federal Government through the Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support project had set aside N600bn as loan support to farmers across the country.
He said no fewer than 2.4 million farmers were expected to benefit from the loan which had zero interest.