The Federal Government on Monday declared that the price of rice would start to fall from November this year.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said this while addressing members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja.
According to Ogbeh, the government could not be involved in the importation of rice as speculated in some quarters, adding that his ministry would not encourage rice importation because it would be detrimental to local production.
“We will not encourage rice importation and there is no way our ministry or government can be involved in importing rice when we are working hard to be self-sufficient in local production. By November when the full-scale harvest starts, rice prices will fall,” he said.
Ogbeh, speaking on the reason his ministry has not started implementing its capital budget said: “It is about now that the capital expenditure is beginning. One of the reasons why money is not circulating is that we need to follow the due process on issues of procurement, advertisement and others.”
“You may be surprised to know that only six to seven states in Nigeria are showing enthusiasm in agriculture. Some by nature don’t seem interested, while others just can’t connect with whatever we are doing at the federal level,” he added.
He also said that his ministry has spent just N882.58m, representing 4% of the N21bn budgeted for it in the 2016 Appropriation Act.
Ogbeh said that he met N67 billion debt when he came on board, adding that N20 billion had been paid to agro-dealers and 900 million oil palm seedlings have been distributed to farmers across the country.