BASG Endorses Local Rice Production As Local Farmers in Bauchi Protest Against Importation By Beatrice Earland

Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar has urged rice farmers in the country to disregard calls for the resumption of importation of rice into the country as both the Federal and State Governments have endorsed local rice production as a necessary step taken by the Muhammadu Buhari administration for Nigeria to create jobs and diversify her sources of earning foreign exchange while attaining food security.

According to a statement issued by Press Secretary to the Governor, Mallam Abubakar Al-Sadique, Governor Abubakar stated this when Chairman of the Bauchi State Chapter of the Rice Farmers’ Association led members of the association on a peaceful protest to the Bauchi Government House over what the protesting farmers called “Federal government’s planned resumption of rice importation into the country.”

The statement noted that Governor Abubakar had commended members of the Rice Farmers’ Association for resorting to peaceful protests to press home their demands, and explained that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari rode to power on the campaign of change which informed its decision to suspend the importation of rice and introduce the policy of its local production to “fully harness the agricultural endowments in the country”.

“President Muhammadu Buhari properly acknowledges the sufferings in the land, but also reminds us that we have to make sacrifices before we take Nigeria to the Promised Land. He always reminds Nigerians that Nigeria is our country, and there is no any other country for us, so we must remain here and salvage it together,” the Governor said.

He recalled that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme was introduced by the Federal Government in order to encourage local rice production and save billions of naira the nation loses in foreign exchange, and pledged to continue rendering all the necessary support to the Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria to make Bauchi State one of the major producers of the product in Nigeria.

“My administration, like the Buhari administration does everything within the limited resources available to government to encourage our local farmers to boost agriculture especially rice production. Our youths are unemployed while most of our people especially rural dwellers are famers and most of the fertile land we’re endowed with still remains uncultivated. This necessitated our administration’s determination to exploit the opportunities that abound in agriculture for our state and nation to regain the greatness,” the Governor said.

The statement also quoted Governor Abubakar as saying that his administration has since commenced the purchase of rice cultivated locally in the State from the Rice Farmers’ Association for free distribution to the less-privileged in this Holy Month of Ramadan.

The statement further said the Governor had pledged government’s support to the Rice Farmers’ Association while recalling that since assuming office as governor of Bauchi state in 2015, the administration has facilitated the successful implementation of all Federal Government’s Development Programmes, especially agriculture in like the Anchor Borrowers programme in the state.

Governor Abubakar revealed that arrangements are being concluded to boost rice production at Jama’are River and promised to deliver the Association’s letter of protest to the Acting President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.