FG sees technology driving rice production to 7mmt in 2017

Rice production in the country is set to increase as the Federal Government is targeting the nation’s annual production to reach seven million metric tons by 2017 with new technology to address processing of the crop.
In a statement made available to BusinessDay, Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development lauded the Rice-Post Harvest Processing and Marketing Pilot Project (RIPMAPP) developed by the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) on the new technology to small scale rice processors, when receiving representatives of the group recently.
According to the minister, rice production, which was three tonnes per hectare, had improved to seven tonnes per hectare in some states of the federation following the introduction of the new technology to rice processors.
Ogbeh appreciated JICA for its supports to the country and assured them of full support and collaboration needed to develop the nation’s agricultural sector.
He stated that the need to take the milling machines provided by JICA to rural areas to compliment the bigger ones, which are mostly in the urban areas, is very essential and that the country would continue to leverage the relationship with JICA.
While presenting an overview of the RIPMAPP project, Mufutau Azeez, director, department of agribusiness and marketing development in the ministry, explained that the project was borne out of the desire of the government to address the challenges facing the post-harvest processing of rice in the country.
Azeez added that the main purpose of the project was to develop human resource capacity of officials of the ministry of agric, rice producers, processors and marketers of the two states.
Earlier in his welcome address, Nakamura Hirotaka, the chief representative, JICA, said he was in the ministry to brief the minister on the progress made so far on the RIPMAPP projects in Nassarawa and Niger States by Japanese expert on rice production.
Rice-milling rate in Nigeria currently, averages 60 percent. While the milling rate for integrated mills is 65 percent, that of small-scale mills, which represents 60-70 percent of Nigeria’s total milling capacity, hovers between 55 and 60 percent, according to USDA grain report.
Josephine Okojie
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