The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar, says the ministry will continue to strategise and collaborate with security agencies to check illegal importation of rice through land borders.
A statement Sunday by Mabel Mbosire, a senior information officer in the ministry, quoted Abubakar to have said this at a meeting, in Abuja, of the Steering Committee of the National Taskforce on the illegal importation of rice through land borders.
Abubakar said the ban on rice importation had brought about a significant increase in local rice production and unlocked economic opportunities for rice investors in the country.
“The ministry is very concerned about the increase in smuggling and has convened this meeting to discuss critical issues in order to strategise and come up with concrete measures to enable the committee carry out its duties effectively.
“The resumed smuggling of foreign rice, especially through the land borders, is constituting a serious threat to these achievements.
“Therefore, if the smuggling is left unchecked, it’ll jeopardize all government efforts to enhance the domestic rice industry and make them ineffective.
“The Federal Government and the private sector have invested a lot of resources in rice production and processing over the years,because of the government’s commitment to the development of the sub-sector through its various interventions.
“The ministry has been supporting farmers, especially smallholders and rice processors, with quality seeds of improved varieties, production and processing machinery and equipment.”