Buhari rice policy shuts down factories in Thailand-Presidency
By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has said that successes recorded by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in rice production in the country have made some rice factories to close shops in Thailand.
Special Assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, gave the disclosure on an interview program aired by Pyramid Radio, Kano yesterday.
Speaking about the flagship agricultural program of rice production in the country, the Presidential spokesman said that “while in 2014, we bought 1.2 million tons of rice from Thailand, only 58,000 tons were imported last year.”
Garba said as a result of the country’s growing rice production, assisted by the decision by the government to deny foreign exchange through the Central Bank for the importation of rice, “parboiled rice mills in some Asian countries are shutting down because Nigeria, one of the world’s largest importers is not buying. Five of such mills in Thailand servicing Nigeria have stopped production due to the withdrawal of our patronage.
“ Currently, government is watching with keen interest, the growing investment in rice milling by the private sector and will continue to give encouragement through the Ministry of Agriculture to such efforts by BUA Industries in Jigawa, Dangote in Kano, OLAM and WACOTT in Nassarawa and Kebbi and what a consortium of businessmen lead by a former Governor in Anambra State are doing. The increase in the volume of rice production and processing is already saving this country a lot of money.”
He also indicated that the administration’s agricultural revolution was bringing about other socio-economic changes in the country.
According to him “A recent survey in two urban areas in Jigawa state, the capital Dutse and Kiyawa showed that jobless young men are migrating from motor cycle taxi, achaba to farming. In Kiyawa, it takes a long wait to catch a motor cycle taxi because they are rapidly disappearing. The young men are moving to the farms. These are development issues in the country that our media should pay attention to,” he said in the program.
Asked whether the President will be launching the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative next week as being speculated, Garba said that President Muhammadu Buhari would allow the production processes take a firm root. “The President will rather commission successes not promises. In some weeks or months ahead, you will see this happen.”
He, however, regretted that elites in the country pretended to appreciate the achievements made so far because of their selfishness.
He said “Because the elite don’t care for ordinary people they are saying that government is doing nothing but we are doing a lot for ordinary people.”
Garba pointed out that the price of a bag of fertilizer is down from about N9,000-N10,000 per bag to 5,500.
“This country has about 32 fertilizer blending plants that have remained idle for many years but that about half those numbers are now in production with many of them running three shifts a day,” he stressed.